Terri Pastori’s article, Navigating Interactive Dialogue on Workplace Accommodations, was featured in the New Hampshire Bar News, Employment Law Edition, on April 18, 2018. As Attorney Pastori explains in the article, the law requires that employers and employees engage in an interactive, good faith dialogue about a request for a workplace accommodation, and both “employers and employees have ample opportunity to mishandle those requests which could result in claims of disability discrimination.” Attorney Pastori explains that the good news is that “[t]here are a host of steps employers and employees can take to increase the productiveness of the interactive dialogue, and decrease the likelihood of frustrations and dissatisfaction that ultimately may lead to discrimination claims.” “For example, employees should not wait until they are about to receive a negative review to alert their employers about disabilities for which an accommodation may be necessary. Employees should promptly and truthfully respond to appropriate requests for information from their employers, and meaningfully explain how their requested accommodation is related to the disability and job duties,” and they should document communications with employers concerning their requests. There are also steps employers should take, including engaging in “a meaningful, interactive dialogue with employees seeking a reasonable accommodation. Ideally, the process should include in-person meetings or communications by phone as opposed to exclusively relying on email, letters, or text messages, which can be less effective for the process. Employers should make good faith and earnest attempts to find reasonable accommodations for employees, and document such communications with employees, including requests for information and the need for repeated follow-up requests for information with employees. When an employee raises the issue of disability and/or the need for an accommodation during a disciplinary meeting or performance review, employers would be wise to hit the “pause button” to allow an adequate opportunity to assess the situation before either proceeding as planned, or changing course, as the specific circumstances may require.” Read the full article here.
Terri Pastori is a founding partner at Pastori Krans, a Concord, New Hampshire law firm focused on litigation. Practice areas include employment law, family law, and business disputes. Pastori and partner Heather Krans each have nearly 20 years of litigation experience and lead a team that addresses a broad spectrum of problems that their clients face – from routine matters to complex, multi-party cases. Learn more about the firm here.