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EEOC document targets employer roadblocks to disability leave

EEOC document targets employer roadblocks to disability leave

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued Monday a new document on disability leave that it says is in response to a “troubling trend” evident in Americans with Disabilities-related claims of employer policies that deny or unlawfully restrict the use of disability leave as a reasonable accommodation.

The agency said in announcing the document, “Employer Provided Leave and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” that these policies “often serve as systemic barriers to the employment of workers with disabilities. They may cause many workers to be terminated who otherwise could have returned to work after obtaining needed leave without undue hardship to the employer,” said the statement.

The EEOC said the document is intended to help educate employers and employees about workplace leave under the ADA to prevent discriminatory denials of leave from occurring, and responds to common questions both firms and workers have about ADA-related leave requests.

“Providing employees with a period of leave for medical treatment or recovery can be a critical reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities,” said EEOC Chair Jenny Yang, in a statement. “This resource document explains to employers and employees in a clear and practical way how to approach requests for leave as a reasonable accommodation so that employees can manage their health and employers can meet their business needs.”

Disability-related charges filed with the EEOC increased 6.3% in fiscal year 2015, to 26,968. They accounted for 30.2% of all charges, in third place behind retaliation and race.

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