In May 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) published “Employer-Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act” The EEOC published the guidance as it observed a “troubling trend:” employment policies that deny or restrict leave as a reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities. It has been a year since this guidance was published and it is worth revisiting this issue.
The issue arises as follows. An Employer determines whether an employee is eligible for or has exhausted her Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) leave. If the employee is ineligible or has exhausted her FMLA leave, the employer may deny the employee’s request for leave without consideration of the requirements of the ADA.
The ADA requires, among other things, that employers provide “reasonable accommodations” to employees with disabilities if doing so will allow the employees to perform their essential job functions. An exception exists if the accommodation would cause the employer “undue hardship.”