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What Is An Interactive Process?

Posted on December 4, 2021 | Employment Law

Under California law, the purpose of an “interactive process” is to have an employer communicate with its employee (with a disability) to exchange information about job skills and job openings to determine what reasonable accommodations can be provided.

Holding a meeting with an employee to review their work restrictions in comparison to the essential job functions of their work and to determine how those work restrictions could be accommodated could be an example of an interactive process.

The interactive process is required under California law. A failure to engage in the interactive process on an employer’s part can form the basis of a claim separate and apart from a failure to reasonably accommodate the employee’s disability. The same holds true for an “applicant” looking for a job with the prospective employer.

The employer must engage in a “timely, good faith interactive process … in response to a request for reasonable accommodation by an employee or applicant with a known physical or mental disability or known medical condition.”

Medical information and records obtained as part of the interactive process need to be maintained separately from the employee’s personnel file and kept confidential. However,  supervisors may notified about restrictions on the duties of the person and the accommodations they require. In addition, safety personnel may be notified of the person’s condition that they might require emergency treatment.

The purpose of the interactive process is to determine what reasonable accommodation is required. Once a reasonable accommodation request has been granted, the employer has a duty to provide it. The employee does not have an ongoing to duty to ask for the reasonable accommodation to be provided again.

If you believe you have been denied a reasonable accommodation at work, or denied a good faith interactive process, feel free to contact The Law Office of Omid Nosrati at 310-553-5630 for a free case evaluation now.

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