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A recent case from the U. Most of you are probably familiar with the general requirements of the ADA, which include making reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities that allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs.
Rather, the ADA requires you to accommodate only employees who are otherwise qualified individuals.
A qualified individual is someone who, with or without a reasonable accommodation, is capable of performing the essential functions of the job to which he is assigned or applying for. When determining whether a person is a qualified individual, a court will look first at whether he has satisfied the prerequisites of the job, including whether he has the education, training, work experience, or skills necessary to perform the job duties.
If the person meets those requirements, the court will look to whether he can perform the essential functions of the job. The court will also look at the written job description, the time the employee spends performing each function, and the past and current experiences of employees in the same job.
You can avoid potential issues and guide your response to requests for accommodation by maintaining clearly written job descriptions that detail essential functions and specific job qualifications. A recent 7th Circuit case demonstrates how clearly defined qualifications and job descriptions can help you determine if you need to provide a reasonable accommodation.
The residency program provides training to medical school graduates as part of their licensing requirements. The 3-year program is controlled by annual contracts between the hospital and its residents, and by policies adopted by the hospital. If a resident successfully completes certain practical requirements during each year of the program, then his contract is renewed and he continues on in the program.
To advance to the third and final year of the residency program, residents at Carle are required to pass the third part of the U. If a resident fails part three of the test three times, he will be terminated from the program. During his first 2 years in the residency program, Antonio struggled to complete certain practical requirements as part of the rotations.
The hospital granted him extensions during each year to complete remedial training, and he ultimately returned to good standing in the program.
After reporting the results to the hospital, he was granted an extension on his second year to study for the exam. During his communications with the hospital about the test results, Antonio reported that he was suffering from a sleep disorder and other issues brought on by the stress of the program and trying to pass the USMLE.
The hospital reminded him that another failed attempt to pass the USMLE would result in termination from the residency program. He was granted a leave of absence to prepare for the exam, but he again failed to pass it.
Was Antonio Entitled to a Reasonable Accommodation?
After striking out on part three of the USMLE, Antonio told the hospital that test taking was difficult for him and he was certain that fatigue due to his sleep disorder was the major factor in his poor test scores.
Antonio requested reinstatement on the grounds that the hospital failed to accommodate his severe insomnia brought about by the stress of the program and trying to pass the USMLE.
The hospital denied his request, and he sued, claiming discrimination under the ADA. If he failed to meet those requirements, he was simply ineligible to advance.
It should be noted that the hospital did provide an accommodation to assist Antonio in taking part three of the USMLE for the third time: It allowed him to take three weeks off to prepare for the exam. Employers may need to consider such accommodations when they are necessary to assist disabled employees in taking tests.
Bottom Line So what can you and your company learn from this case? The bottom line is that clearly written job requirements and qualifications, along with clear job descriptions, will help you comply with the ADA.
Such documents have the added benefit of letting your employees know what is expected of them.A third case of note to HR is Pellegrino v.
CWA, decided by a Pennsylvania district court. Recent Court Cases Provide Guidance for HR. Send Cancel Close Fake link.
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Nicolas, tell us about your business? Room Seasons is a catering company focused around providing in-room dining for 3 and 4-star hotels that don’t provide full room service.