ADA compliance re: madated training accommodations

We have an employee who is quadraplegic and requires an aide/assistant to bathe, dress, help in and out of wheelchair, etc. He is scheduled for mandated training and the State will not agree to provide accommodation for his aide that must travel with him, i.e. lodging, meals etc. He is only asking for the aide to be able to be there to accoompany him with daily activities and to get him to the training etc. Isn't his a "reasonable accommodation" since the training is required? Thanks


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  • Seems like it would be. Is there anything you can do to help the accomodation along.

    Also you need to make sure your state has its own disability law. Lately the US Supreme Court has ruled that a "State" is immune from suit under many federal laws due to the 11th amendment. This would probably include the ADA (If they haven't ruled already -- I know they have ruled that the state cannot be sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act). Therefore, if you don't have a State law that mimics the ADA, the state may not have to comply.

    Good Luck!

  • Thank you Theresa. The problem here is that he is actually a State of TN employee, housed here in our contract agency and he asked me as our personnel director if they were treating him fairly about it and wasn't there something he could do. I said I would check (and certainly did or did not agree that the State was or was not treating him fairly) The training itself is actually done by the State so no outside training facilitators are being utilized that would need to provide any accommodation.. most of the accommodation he needed was to get into and out of bed and getting dressed etc.
    I read in the ADA compliance that "personal assistants" were not considered as a reaso0nable accommodation if they were a part of his "daily activities"...this is true when he is at home where family can assist him. However, family will not be able to accommodate him to this training. I just think it would serve them well to provide lodging (in his same room that they will pay for any way) so that the assistant could be there. Thanks for your insight on this.

  • You always have to remember that even though the ADA may not apply to the state employees, there may be a state law that does (and it is not unusual for state law to be more generous than the ADA). Normally, provided a full time assistant would not be a reasonalbe accomodation, but if it is for a limited duration for training (like a 2 week course), I could see a good argument that it would be a reasonable accomodation.

    Your state agency that deals with discrimination issues (where employees can file charges) probably has a website with information that could help this employee.

    Good luck!

  • My take is that while you probably will, in the end, make some arrangement and cover at least part of the cost for an aide, I'm not sure that you are obligated too as part of reasonable accommodation. As you are aware, personal assistants for personal care are not considered reasonable accommodation under ADA. I understand about the issue of the employee going overnight to a mandated training session. But is that the only option available? You should explore whether the training can be given locally, or through teleconferencing from the employee's office for the employee. In other words, are there other ways that the employee can get the same training without forcing the issue of either paying or not paying for a personal aide and the employee then either going or not going? It may be that your cost for having the training locally would be less than sending everyone or sending this employee to the overnighter. I would certainly take a look at those options first. Remember, under ADA, the employer is still obligated to require contractors who perform company services, such as training, to make accommodation. You aren't bound by the most convenient, even though more expensive option, for the employee. If the training company can't or won't make the accommodation or it causes undue hardship to the employer, then EEOC could consider that the employer met its burden.

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