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Inflexible leave policies and the ADA

Houston employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants and employees under the Americans with Disabilities Act. This means that companies must make job adjustments that will allow individuals with a disability to perform necessary work functions. However, some employers violate the ADA by having an inflexible leave policy.

An inflexible leave policy, also known as a "no-fault" leave policy, automatically terminates an employee once the employer's maximum leave limit. has been reached. While this type of policy typically offers all employees the same amount of leave, it violates the ADA by failing to engage in an interactive process with employees, which is required under federal law. The interactive process demands that employers consider each employee's request for additional leave on an individual basis and engage in a conversation with an employee about his or her needs.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued UPS over its policy of firing employees who maxed out a 12-month inflexible leave policy. While 12 months of leave is liberal, the EEOC alleged that UPS violated the ADA by failing to engage with employees about their individual needs. The company settled the suit for $2 million and agreed to update the EEOC on the status of all employee accommodation requests for three years. The EEOC also filed suits against Macy's Inc. and Dependable Health Services over their inflexible leave policies.

An employer's failure to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees may leave it open to legal action. Employees who believe they have had their rights violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act could learn more about their options by consulting with an employment law attorney.

Source: News OK, "Employers' inflexible leave policies violate Americans with Disabilities Act", Paula Burkes, Aug. 23, 2017

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