Does the ADA Require an Employer to Rethink its Processes?

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requires an employer to consider what might be a reasonable accommodation for a particular, individual employee with a covered disability.  This requirement imposes a duty to make a true and thorough consideration, as the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals describes in Miller v. Illinois Dept of Transportation, 643 F.3d 190, 199 (7th Cir. 2011):

The ADA does not give employers unfettered discretion to decide what is reasonable. The law requires an employer to rethink its preferred practices or established methods of operation. Employers must, at a minimum, consider possible modifications of jobs, processes, or tasks so as to allow an employee with a disability to work, even where established practices or methods seem to be the most efficient or serve otherwise legitimate purposes in the workplace. ... The employer must be willing to consider making changes in its ordinary work rules, facilities, terms, and conditions in order to enable a disabled individual to work.

This doesn't mean that anything and everything must be considered as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA; but it does obviously mean that more than lip service must be given to the process.

Lexington, Kentucky ADA lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and employees in disability discrimination cases under the ADA; contact him at 859-254-7076.