March 2017 Issue Highlights
In the Spotlight: J. Robert Carr, J.D., SHRM-SCP, Senior Vice President, Membership and External Affairs at the Society for Human Resource Management
- March 2017 note from the editor
- Profile: J. Robert Carr, J.D., SHRM-SCP, Senior Vice President, Membership and External Affairs at the Society for Human Resource Management
- Need a Killer Business Tax Exemption?
- Web Exclusive: 2017 Economic Outlook Under the Trump Administration by Gerald Laurain
- HR’s Voice is Needed Now More Than Ever by J. Robert Carr, J.D., SHRM-SCP
- Preparing You For Success on the SHRM Certification Exam
- Future Workforce: Preparing for the Next Generation of Talent for Automation, Disruption & the Gig Economy by Austin Baker
- Understanding the Labor Participation Rate by Richard Works and Angela Sewell
- Six Tips to Help Employers Maintain I-9 Compliance by Julie Henderson
- What is in Your Human Capital Management Strategy by Kim LaFevor
- Which EQ Assessment Tool is Best by Harvey Deutschendorf
- ADP Acquires The Marcus Buckingham Company to Expand Talent Portfolio
- Employee Benefits
- Consistency is Key . . . but Maybe Not by Laura K. Clayman
- Book Look: Save for More for Tomorrow – Practical Behavioral Finance Solutions to Improve 401K Plans by Paula Hayes
- Rising Stars in Labor and Employment Law
- Ogletree Deakins
- Fisher Phillips
- Wright Lindsey Jennings
- Cross, Gunter, Witherspoon & Galchus
- The Kullman Firm
- Baker Donelson
- Burch, Porter & Johnson, PLLC
- Rainey Kizer
- Employment Law Update
- U.S. News Best Lawyers – Fisher Phillips Louisville
- Is Your Employee Handbook Working for You by Frank L. Day, Jr.
- 5th Circuit Broadens Exceptions to At-Will Employment by Robin Banck Taylor
- Is Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch Good for Employers? by Kim Day
- Preventing Worker Retaliation by Jo Nisewanger
- What HR Professionals Need to Know About the President’s Executive Orders by Greg Siskind
- Background Check Authorization in Online Employment Authorizations by Jodi D. Taylor
- Rob Ratton with Fisher Phillips Presented “When Employees Walk Out with More Than Memories” on February 16
- Industry News
- SHRM Employment Law & Legislative Conference in Washington, DC March 13-15
- SHRM-Atlanta 2017 HR Conference March 29-30
- 8th Annual TNSHRM Strategic Leadership Conference April 21
- 2017 ARSHRM Conference in Hot Springs April 5-7
- 2017 MSSHRM Conference in Tupelo April 3-5
- 2017 TPMA Conference in Chattanooga April 18-21
- 2017 ALSHRM Conference in Birmingham May 16-17
- Next Issue – Talent Management and Recruiting – Deadline to reserve space is March 10.
EEOC’s Latest Guidance on Accommodating Mental Health Conditions
Recently the EEOC provided guidance to employees with mental conditions about their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The guidance, called Depression, PTSD, & Other Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace: Your Legal Rights. It outlines several important reminders about accommodating mental health conditions:
- A disabled employee must be able to do the job and not be a direct threat to others.
- Only act on objective evidence to ensure stereotypes don’t influence the decision.
- Do not ask if an employee is disabled unless there is a really good reason.
Employers should not ask about an employee’s mental health condition unless it has a legitimate, business-related reason to do so. The guidance outlines only three situations in which the EEOC thinks an employer may ask:
(1) After a job offer but before employment begins and then only if others in the same position have been asked;
(2) When the employer is engaged in affirmative action for individuals with disabilities; and
(3) If there is objective evidence that the employee is not able to do the job or poses a safety risk to others. There are other situations in which an employer has a legitimate reason to ask, but employers should avoid doing so unless absolutely necessary.
- Consider all alternatives when trying to accommodate an employee – be creative.
The guidance defines an accommodation as a “change in the way things are normally done at work.” It should include any arrangement that would not cause an “undue hardship” on the employer. An employer should not refuse an accommodation simply because it has not been done before.
The guidance provides several examples of what the EEOC considers reasonable accommodations specific to mental health conditions:
- Altering break and work schedules, such as scheduling work around therapy appointments;
- Providing quiet office space or devices that create a quiet work environment;
- Changes in supervisory methods such as written instructions from a supervisor who usually does not provide them;
- Specific shift assignments;
- Permission to work from home; and
- FMLA leave if time off would allow the employee to perform the job when they returned.
An employer should consider all accommodations suggested by the employee. The more accommodations an employer considers, the less likely the EEOC is to find that it failed to engage in the interactive process with the employee.
- Work with the employee’s physician to define limitations and identify accommodations.
The guidance encourages employees to ask for an accommodation. Employers have the right to ask for documentation from a health care provider of the mental health condition. It even provides employees with a guidance document to show their health care providers related to reasonable accommodations.
Employers may also ask the employee’s health care provider if certain accommodations would meet the employee’s needs. Employers should rely on objective evidence only. Employers should be aware of an employee’s mental health condition or other potential disability. But remember that any decision the employee disagrees with could be viewed as harassment or retaliation.
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