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PRESS RELEASE
9-3-08

EEOC ADDRESSES PERFORMANCE AND CONDUCT ISSUES UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

New Publication Focuses on Frequently Asked Questions from Employers and Employees

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued a comprehensive question-and-answer guide addressing how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to a wide variety of performance and conduct issues.  The document is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov/facts/performance-conduct.html.

“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.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination.  Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov