The Interactive Process for Reasonable Accommodation

When disability, injury or illness strike, the American Disabilities Act (ADA) directs employers and employees to engage in a collaborative effort — the interactive  process (IP) — to explore reasonable accommodation when functional limitations exist. The purpose is to determine what changes or modifications are needed when an employee’s ability to return to work, stay at work and perform the work is impacted as a result of a medical condition.

Many employers may be unfamiliar with the ADA guidelines for reasonable accommodation or don’t have the staffing experience to facilitate the interactive process. Some employers simply prefer to ensure fairness and neutrality to the process and draw upon skilled professionals who know how to facilitate and mediate challenging situations.

Hi, I’m Dr. Debra Dupree. That’s exactly what I do. I facilitate and mediate workplace issues, as well as coach and train, when employee relations, disability issues and other management challenges develop. Want to learn more about managing those challenging or difficult workspace events? Contact me by clicking below . . .

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What is the Interactive Process?

An employee and a representative of the employer, typically someone with responsibilities for human resources, meet face-to-face and bring various ideas to the table to see whether the employee can be accommodated in returning to their usual and customary position or some other type of work. If they find that a certain aspect of the position can be reasonably modified to accommodate the employee’s change in capacity, then plans for such accommodations are made, as directed by law.

If the usual and customary position cannot be modified sufficiently, or if continued performance represents a direct threat to the employee or to others around, or if pursuit of accommodations represent an undue hardship, then those involved in the process evaluate alternative work in open positions for which the employee is qualified and can perform with their limitations.

Learn more about the Interactive Process

Why is it necessary?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) directs employers with 15 or more employees to accommodate an otherwise qualified employee with a disability unless doing so would pose an undue hardship or direct threat.

Further, under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and other state statutes, it is unlawful to treat a qualified employee or job applicant unfavorably because of a disability. Like the federal law, California laws also directs employers to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified employees who are disabled.

Learn more about ADA requirements

How do I get started?

It’s easy to get started.  Just follow the steps below and we’ll get the ball rolling to make sure you stay in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

Step #1:
Complete the Meeting Request Form with Dr. Dupree, Disability Consultant and Meeting Facilitator.
Step #2:
Schedule your Interactive Meeting.  Use my on-line scheduler to find a time that works best for you!
Step #3:
Secure the Employee’s Consent to Release Medical Information

• For non-Joint Powers of Authority (JPA)/non-Workers’ Compensation (WC) disability issues:  Use this Authorization to release medical report blank (fillable)

• For JPA/WC disability issues:  Use this Authorization to release Athens medical report blank (fillable)

Step #4:
Schedule a complimentary 15-minute call prior to the Interactive Process Meeting to discuss any issues of concern as to how they may impact the reasonable accommodation process.
The Federal American Disabilities Act (ADA)

Visit site for information and technical assistance.
California Dept of Fair Employment and Housing

Get information from California's civil rights agency.
Complimentary IPM Phone Consultation

In this complimentary 15-minute discovery session, we discuss your questions and concerns about the interactive process and reasonable accommodation effort.

Schedule Your Interactive Process Meeting

In this 1 hour and 30 minute session, I facilitate the confidential conversation between employer and employee, servings as a neutral, impartial mediator of the process.