40,000 reasons to remember that the duty to accommodate in your workplace begins right away

They line up around the block.

As you can tell from the clipart, they come in all shapes and sizes to apply for assistant positions at The Employer Handbook. For example, in a few months, I’ll be advertising for Fantasy Football Grunt III. His/her essential job functions are to monitor Twitter for player injury updates and supply the citrus for the Lime Rickeys, which is the drink of the champions here at the Bloggerdome.

Situated in New Jersey, the California of the East when it comes to employment law, you’d better believe that The Employer Handbook is an equal opportunity employer. For example, I know better than to ask on our job applications — best bar napkins in Cherry Hill — whether an applicant is disabled or needs a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job. That would violate both New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, I do know that when an applicant with a disability asks me for an accommodation to complete the application — that 4.5 pt. crayon font can be difficult to read — I oblige.

Other employers learn the hard way. Whether during the application process or new-hire orientation, the ADA is in full effect. For example, here is a little taste of the EEOC’s announcement of a recent settlement with a large supermarket chain:

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, [the employer] offered [the applicant] a courtesy clerk position at its … store on or about March 15, 2016. [The applicant] accepted the position and was required to attend an orientation session on March 23. Due to his visual impairment,[the applicant] requested an accommodation to complete the computer-based portion of the orientation. [The employer’s] management refused to accommodate him. While[the applicant] was completing the computer assessment, he was summoned to the store manager’s office where he was immediately fired, the EEOC said.

That will cost the employer $40,000. Plus, the employer must change its new-hire process significantly. Among other things, it has agreed to provide employees “with vision disabilities access to tools and resources such as magnification for its computer-based and written onboarding and training programs.” Plus, there will be training. Lots of training.

Are you looking to be my Fantasy Football Grunt up your ADA-compliance game for job applicants and new hires? Here are a few resources:

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
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