Referring an Employee to EARC
It is the responsibility of the employee to request employment accommodations through the EARC, or through his/her supervisor. Manager/superviors, however, are also responsible for invoking the interactive process, as stated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):
While the employee is generally responsible for requesting accommodations, an employer should ask whether one is needed without being asked if it "(1) knows that the employee has a disability, (2) knows, or has reason to know, that the employee is experiencing workplace problems because of the disability, and (3) knows, or has reason to know, that the disability prevents the employee from requesting a reasonable accommodation." If the employee states that he does not need an accommodation, the employer has fulfilled its duty to participate in the interactive process. - Thompson's ADA Compliance Guide, July 2008
Additionally, as stated by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), "If an employee with a known disability is not performing well or is having difficulty in performing a job, the employer should assess whether this is due to a disability. The employer may inquire at any time whether the employee needs an accommodation." (Technical Assistance Manual: Title I of the ADA)
Manager & Supervisor Guidance Packet for Referring Employees
Managers/supervisors receiving inquiries and/or requests from hired employees regarding employment accommodations due to a disability related issue must direct all employees to the EARC. In an effort to assist managers and supervisors in understanding their legal responsibilities related to employment disability and accommodation issues, the EARC created the Manager & Supervisor Guidance Packet for Referring Employees Requesting Employment Accommodations to the EARC (PDF). The packet includes:
The EARC Referral Letter: A letter template for managers and supervisors to appropriately refer employees requesting employment accommodations to the EARC.
Guidelines for Usage of the EARC Referral Letter for Managers & Supervisors: Practical guidelines to assist managers and supervisors in understanding if, when, and how to implement the EARC Referral Letter.
Trigger to the Interactive Process: Interactions Between the Employee, Manager/Supervisor & the EARC flowchart: A comprehensive flowchart detailing the actions taken by the employee, manager/supervisor, and the EARC after an employee discloses a disability and/or requests an accommodation.
IMPORTANT: The Manager & Supervisor Guidance Packet for Referring Employees Requesting Employment Accommodations to the EARC is meant as a general tool and should not substitute direct consultation with the EARC regarding complex disability related employee issues. Should you have questions while reviewing the guidance materials, please contact the EARC at 408-924-6003 or firstname.lastname@example.org.