Employers in Louisiana and elsewhere take certain steps to not only protect themselves but also the company or business they own, manage or operate. Because not all employees are the same, certain laws and regulations have been passed to protect specific differences and characteristics an employee might embody. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act protect an employee with disabilities. And even when employers are well aware of this Act and the rights it affords, this does not prevent an employee from asserting a claim against his or her employer.

Therefore, an employer has to be prepared to defend itself against an ADA claim just like any other employer liability claim that could be filed against a business. Whether it is a means to avoid employment litigation or save the reputation of the business, it is essential to understand ways to navigate these actions. Moreover, it is important to note five steps employers could take to avoid ADA claims altogether.

First, an employer could take the time to become fully informed about the limitations of the pre-off phase. In other words, understand the limits an employer has when it comes to making inquires about an individuals ability to perform the essential functions of the job. Second, an employer should make sure the business’s application process is accessible. Enabling an on-line application could help ensure this is met.

Third, employers should become comfortable with the interactive process. Employers should be mindful of the employee’s disability affecting the person’s ability to perform at work; therefore, an employer should note ways to properly and appropriate discuss these issues. Fourth, employers should be mindful of stereotypes and watch language. Lastly, employers should remove physical access barriers. This makes the workplace completely accessible for those with disabilities.

While addressing these five issues will not prevent an ADA claim from being asserted, it could help an employer avoid the issues that most commonly result in such an action. Those facing such a legal action should understand their rights and what options they have. This will not only protect their rights but also the interests of the business.

Source: Bizjournals.com, “5 steps to avoid being the next target of an ADA claim,” Katie Loehrke, Sept 30, 2016