Vol. 3 No. 2 Summer 1997 Braun Consulting News Page 3.
button Violence in the Workplace
A survey of 1,016 human resource professionals found incidents of violence in the workplace are up. Of the violent incidents occurring , the top five situations are:
check Employee to employee: 57 percent Employee to supervisor:
check 17 percent Customer to employee:
check 6 percent Girlfriend / boyfriend to employee:
check 4 percent Spouse to employee:
check 3 percent
(Society for Human Resource Management, Alexandria, VA.)

     Many workplaces are increasing security to prevent this recent rise of violence. Some are installing security systems to monitor building access. You can help prevent violence in your workplace by having employees report incidents to the human resource department, and by having proper policies in place to handle these situations when they occur.

If you are concerned about violence in your workplace, or need advice on policies and appropriate responses to violence in the workplace you can call Braun Consulting Group for help. Braun can make your life much easier if these stressful situations develop, so please call.

Call Braun if you need advice on how to prevent violence in your workplace....

button Avoiding Charges Under ADA...

"The Americans with Disabilities Act".....
EEOC and "Reasonable Accommodation", these are phrases in our vocabulary which have become as common as "business tax", "downsizing" and "AFL-CIO". New EEOC policy seems to come out with the regularity of new taxes, and appeals court decisions are coming down at a dizzying rate. Within this climate it is vital that employers provide continuous ADA training to their managers and supervisors.

(Avoiding Charges Under ADA... continued:)
Courts are now considering negligence claims based on an employer's failure to properly train supervisors and managers as to what the law requires. It may also be necessary for an employer to educate a court or an EEOC investigator as to what the law says. Here are some facts, figures, and suggestions on being prepared. The ADA is a very fact-specific statute which requires a case-by-case determination based on the individual claimant. Under ADA, an employee must prove that he or she has a disability that substantially limits a major life activity, and at the same time, that he or she is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation, and this is often very difficult to show. To be disabled under ADA, an individual must first show the existence of a recognized impairment. One way which is used in defending ADA charges is for the employer to first argue that the individual has no recognized disability under the ADA. Courts will not assume that an individual has a disability, and often a claimant will fail to introduce expert medical testimony regarding the said impairment. A key litigation strategy for employers is to show all the things that the individual can do in order to show that the impairment does not impact a major life activity. Even though an employee may be disabled under the ADA, he or she must also be qualified to perform the essential functions of a job... and this means that the "essential functions" of a job should be in a job description. The burden is on the employer to show what the essential job functions are, so this means that employers should get rid of outdated job descriptions and ensure that all job descriptions are accurate and updated.

EEOC / ADA Facts: 72,687 charges under Title I of the ADA had been received by the EEOC as of Oct. 1 1996. The number one impairment alleged in ADA charges are back impairments. (18% of charges)

(Avoiding Charges Under ADA... continued:)
The number two impairment alleged are mental or psychiatric. (13% of charges) Of all the ADA violations alleged, wrongful discharge made up 51% of the charges, followed by "failure to provide reasonable accommodation with 28%.
Even with these large numbers of charges filed, the courts throw out many ADA cases because the claimant does not show that he or she is a qualified individual with a disability under the ADA or that the employer failed to provide a reasonable accommodation. Reasonable Accommodation... those magic words. According to a new EEOC guidance (FEP at 405:7461), an employee does not have to request a specific accommodation as long as he or she gets the idea across to the employer that one is needed. An employer should never ignore the obvious need for an accommodation, but to avoid charges based on perceiving an employee as being disabled, employers should not inquire about a disability when reasonably accommodating an employee. The EEOC will not take cases to trial where an employer has made good faith attempts to reasonably accommodate. Most accommodations are not expensive items but rather involve a job modification, job restructuring, reassignment, or time off... and often those costs are not that expensive. The key seems to be engaging in an interactive process with the employee.

For more information about these issues, or if you have an impending ADA investigation by the EEOC, please give Braun Consulting Group a call. We can help walk you through this maze... and make sure you will avoid a potential catastrophe. As your partner in conducting your business, Braun can let you get some sleep at night knowing you are prepared to survive this jungle of regulations and laws with the sure guidance of our experienced associates.

Braun Consulting Group
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