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The Interactive Process

Employees in Pennsylvania are protected from disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), but it can be difficult to determine specific rights you have as a disabled person. Suppose you are applying for a job and are worried about telling your prospective employer that you are disabled. Or you are already working for an employer and suffer a setback that qualifies as a mental or physical disability. How can the ADA and PHRA help you? What responsibilities does your employer have?

State and federal law allow for an individual to request a reasonable accommodation i.e., an accommodation that would permit you to fulfill the essential functions of your job. Once notice of a request has been accomplished, the employer has an affirmative duty to participate in the “interactive process”. This judicially-created term requires an employer and employee to engage in an open dialogue to assess the precise limitations of the employee’s disability and determine whether he or she can be reasonably accommodated. If necessary, the employer should ask for additional information concerning the mental or physical disability and discuss options to alleviate the challenges faced by the individual.

It is important to recognize that individuals with a disability have a legitimate right to equal opportunities as it relates to employment. If you sought a reasonable accommodation from an employer and your request was promptly denied, your legal rights may have been violated. Our attorneys are adept at handling employment discrimination matters and can evaluate your case. Contact partners Keith Leonard or Michael Tinari at (215) 567-1530.

 

Published February 13, 2017

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