Loma Linda, CA asked in Employment Law and Employment Discrimination for California

Q: Can employer deny reasonable accomodation without engaging in an interactive meeting? They continued my medical leave.

After sending my notes, HR replied back stating my restrictions were to vague and needed clarification. They will send me a medical questionnaire for my dr next week and until then they placed me on medical leave until June 12. Never received any phone call to discuss or clarify my work restrictions.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Employment Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, employers are generally required to engage in an interactive process with employees who request a reasonable accommodation for a disability or medical condition. This process involves a dialogue between the employer and employee to identify possible accommodations that would enable the employee to perform the essential functions of their job.

If an employer denies a requested accommodation without engaging in an interactive process, this may be considered a violation of the employee's rights under the law. Similarly, if an employer places an employee on medical leave without engaging in an interactive process or discussing possible accommodations, this may also be a violation of the law.

In the situation you described, it appears that your employer placed you on medical leave without first engaging in an interactive process to discuss possible accommodations. Additionally, they have requested clarification on your work restrictions without providing an opportunity for you to discuss or clarify them.

It may be helpful to reach out to your employer and request that they engage in an interactive process with you to discuss possible accommodations. If your employer continues to deny your request or fails to engage in an interactive process, you may wish to consult with an employment law attorney or file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

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