New Guidance on Performance and
Conduct Issues Under ADA
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
has published a guide addressing how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
applies to a wide variety of performance and conduct issues.
"The EEOC continues to receive numerous questions on
these topics from employers and from individuals with disabilities," said
Commission Chair Naomi C. Earp, "indicating that there is still a high level of
uncertainty about how the ADA affects these fundamental personnel issues. This
document will serve a critical need and enhance compliance with the ADA ."
The new guide makes clear that employers can apply
the same performance standards to all employees, including those with
disabilities, and emphasizes that the ADA does not affect an employer's right to
hold all employees to basic conduct standards. At the same time, however,
employers must make reasonable accommodations that enable individuals with
disabilities to meet performance and conduct standards.
The guide reviews relevant ADA requirements and
explains how they govern performance and conduct standards as applied to
employees with disabilities. Through examples based on actual cases and specific
scenarios that the EEOC has learned about from employers and individuals with
disabilities, this guide explains when and how performance and conduct standards
should be applied and the appropriate role of reasonable accommodation. The
guide explains how and when employees should request accommodations to help them
meet performance requirements and comply with conduct rules, and how an employer
should handle such requests.
Other topics addressed include issues related to
attendance, dress codes, and drug and alcohol use, and the circumstances in
which employers can ask questions about an employee's disability when
performance or conduct problems occur.