Most employers know they have a duty under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act to accommodate an employee’s disability. Some employers, however, may not realize that this duty extends to newly-hired individuals, even before they start working for the employer.
In a recent case before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the plaintiff alleged that his job offer had been rescinded after he underwent a pre-employment physical examination. Cannon v. Jacobs Field Servs. N. Am., Inc., No. 15-20127 (5th Cir. Jan. 13, 2016), available at http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/15/15-20127-CV0.pdf. The doctor cleared the plaintiff for the position as long as the company accommodated his disability. The company immediately rescinded the plaintiff’s job offer without further exploration of the plaintiff’s impairment or determining whether the requested accommodations could be made. The Court noted that there was little argument to be made that the employer engaged in the interactive process as required by law.
The take-away lesson for an employer is to understand that a duty to engage in the interactive process exists even before a newly-hired employee begins work. An employer must take steps to determine if the individual’s disability may be accommodated and must work with the individual to attempt to find a solution.
To speak to an employment law attorney about disability accommodations, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (214) 239-2705. This article is presented by the Dallas employment law lawyers at Clouse Dunn LLP.