As an employer’s representative, I know that when I become aware of an employee’s disability, or even now, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) amendments, when I become aware of an employee’s impairment that could impact the employee’s job, I must engage in an “interactive process.” But what is that? How does the interactive process work?
The interactive process is two-way communication between the employer and employee regarding the potential job assistance needs that may be used to assist the employee in performing his/her job. This communication lays the groundwork for a joint decision-making process. Not only will this assist in providing an employer with a great good-faith defense in an ADA claim (and perhaps thereby reduce damages) the process also is consistent with “best practices” in creating the type of work environment where we all would want to work.