I’ve posted before about the challenges employers face in determining how much leave an employee is entitled to. On June 8, 2011, the EEOC met to discuss issues surrounding leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation for disabled employees.
The EEOC reiterated the need for flexibility in leave policies. Any policy that requires automatic termination at a particular point in time can violate the ADA (and state laws) because the employer fails to conduct an individualized inquiry as to whether extending the leave for a particular employee is a reasonable accommodation. BNA’s Employment Discrimination Report ($) notes that Sears and Supervalu have each paid millions to settle claims stemming from such policies.
At least according to its press release, the EEOC recognizes that employers are seeking more detailed guidance about when further leave is required. Whether they provide that remains to be seen.
The EEOC will continue to accept comments on these issues through June 23, 2011. The press release contains information about how and where to submit them.