One of the great challenges for business leaders is working with disabled employees who need an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The challenge does not center around the business’ lack of desire to work with the employee. Rather, the problem arises in how to effectively work with the employee to get the accommodation right.
The disconnect occurs when the business leader focuses on “providing” an accommodation. That means to them that they have to think of the accommodation, present it and then implement it.
The better approach is the “facilitate” an accommodation. When you facilitate, you don’t have to create and implement the accommodation. You collaborate with the employee to reach an accommodation that works for everyone.
How does that happen? Follow this three step process: 1) Identify what the company can do to accommodate; 2) Learn from the employee needs for an accommodation and 3) Find common ground between 1 & 2. Sounds simple? It is. Sometimes it is not easy. But, if you want to do it right, you’ll do the work to find the common ground.
Practical legal nugget: A “mandated” accommodation does not solve the ADA puzzle. Work with your people, not against them.