The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled recently that an employer exercised good faith in engaging in the interactive process and in attempting to identify a reasonable accommodation, thus discharging its obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – even though no accommodation was ultimately provided.
The ruling by the appeals court in Sharbono v. Northern States Power Company, No. 16-4532 (8th Cir. September 6, 2018), illustrates that an employer’s obligations under the ADA are not endless, especially when that employer demonstrates good faith.
While failure to engage in the interactive process has been cited successfully by some plaintiffs to assert that an employer failed to provide a reasonable accommodation, good faith participation in the process as occurred in this case can help convince a court it is a flexible process that involves both the employer and the qualified individual with a disability, and that can allow the employer to prevail on a failure to accommodate claim where no accommodation is found.
A copy of the Sharbono ruling is available online.
Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.