Our last blog focused on Virginia’s new law requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. The law requires employers to post in a conspicuous location and include in any employee handbook information concerning an employee's rights to reasonable accommodation for disabilities, and provide such information to (i) new employees upon commencement of their employment and (ii) any employee within 10 days of such employee's providing notice to the employer that such employee has a disability. We have received several inquiries about how to handle those requirements, as well as similar requirements of the 2020 law concerning pregnancy/childbirth protections.
The Virginia Attorney General’s Office of Civil Rights has issued a poster for employers regarding reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. The Virginia Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation has issued a poster that can be used as a basis for the employer's policy and notice to employees regarding the pregnancy/childbirth protections. A statement must also included in any employee handbook about the requirements of both new laws. We suggest statements such as the following:
PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH
Virginia law provides employees with the right to reasonable accommodation for known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. For more information, see Va. Code section 2.2-3909 at https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/2.2-3909/.
The Company will provide a reasonable accommodation for any employee with a disability who needs that accommodation. If you feel you need an accommodation, please contact the HR Director to discuss it.
The requirement of the disabilities law concerning providing information to new employees can be satisfied by including the following statement in the Acknowledgment page of the employee handbook which the employee will sign when you provide the handbook to the employee:
I understand that the Company will provide a reasonable accommodation for me if I need that accommodation because of a disability.
John Falcone and Luke Malloy handle employment law matters at PLDR Law. Feel free to contact us if you have questions about this matter.