The interactive process is the process prescribed by the Americans With Disabilities Act. The act is specially designed for employees who have some serious disabilities but can do some of the other kinds of jobs. Therefore the act tries to accommodate such employees on the best type of job that is most suitable for them. The perfect accommodation not only makes the employee financially independent but also allows him/her to be effective for the organization.
There are mostly six steps in the interactive process that helps both employee and the employer in fairly selecting the best accommodation for the employees and coming to the best solution. The process helps an employee with special needs to work efficiently and also protects the organization from unnecessary and costly litigation.
- Analyze the job and determine its essential functions: In this step the employers determine the essential functions of the job. A function is said to be essential if a job exists to perform the function, the function is a highly specialized function and a few employees can perform the function.
- Identify the limitations and restrictions related to job: The employer needs to check on all the limitations and restrictions related to job because the job is especially being selected for disabled employees. It helps to understand which job shall be suitable for employees.
- Identify possible accommodation: The next step after analyzing and identifying the limitations is to identify the possible accommodation for the employees. Suitable accommodation shall allow the employees to enjoy equal employment opportunities.
- Assess the feasibility of the accommodations provided: The next step is to regularly assess the feasibility of the accommodations provided to the employees. Any accommodation must not cause undue hardship for the organization or the employee.
- Implement the most appropriate accommodation: Amongst the various accommodations option available the employer must choose and assign the best option that reduces the expenses and also is easy to provide to the employees.
- Regular monitoring and follow up: After the accommodation has been assigned it is necessary to regularly monitor and follow up with those who are involved in such a job. Regular follow-ups shall help in determining the effectiveness of the accommodation.
Any step shall be beneficial only after proper documentation of the steps. The records must also contain notes and correspondence of the individuals involved in the case.
Therefore the act is not only helpful for employees but also employers and the organization. But the entire process shall be considered effective only if the employer explores the accommodation options in good faith, during the entire process he communicates directly with the employees, he demonstrate the good faith to the employees by making the entire process easy and simpler for them and also identifying the barriers and communicate the same with the disabled employees. Therefore under ADA, it is considered improper to force accommodation on the employee without consulting the same with him.