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New EEOC Statistics Highlight the Importance of Disability Accommodations at Work

Available research can reduce the risk of disability discrimination claims

Posted by Eric Meyer on February 23rd, 2016

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Yesterday, the EEOC released its FY2015 Enforcement and Litigation Data. Consistent with prior years, claims of retaliation continue to dominate (44.5% of all claims filed with the EEOC). Race is second (34.7%). But, it’s disability discrimination — up a whopping 6% from 2014 — that should have your attention.

What’s driving this spike? There are a couple of factors:

  1. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was amended in 2009, there are many more people who are considered to have a disability. Indeed, the emphasis is less on whether an individual has a disability, and more on whether a reasonable accommodation exists enable that employee to perform the essential functions of the job.
  2. Less sophisticated businesses are not prepared to engage employees in an interactive process to address requests for accommodation.
  3. Given the overlap between a serious health condition and a disability, it’s easy to pair an FMLA claim with an ADA claim.
  4. Many business don’t buy flood insurance until they’ve had a flood. Especially in a flat economy, many businesses are reactive to lawsuits and do not invest in ways to proactively to avoid them. One easy way to be proactive is to update handbooks to include disability-accommodation policies.

Another easy way to reduce the risk of disability discrimination claims in 2016 is to train employees on how to request disability accommodations, and also train managers on how to address those requests for accommodation. Communication and preparedness are two cornerstones of a compliant workplace.

Eric Meyer
Eric Meyer

Management-side workplace lawyer at Dilworth Paxson LLP

Eric B. Meyer, Esquire is a partner in the Philadelphia-based law firm of Dilworth Paxson LLP. Eric is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group and Chair of the #SocialMedia Practice Group. He also publishes The Employer Handbook, which the ABA Journal recognizes as a top labor and employment law blog.

In addition to being a frequent lecturer around the country, among other outlets, Meyer has been quoted in,, AMEX's Small Business Open Forum, Inc. Magazine, Business Insurance, Entrepreneur,, The Wall Street Journal, and the British tabloids. Eric also serves as a volunteer mediator for the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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