Question: What is the interactive process?
Answer: The interactive process is a term most often associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal law that requires organizations with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants and employees who have a disability. The interactive process involves working with an applicant or employee to explore effective accommodations so they can perform the essential functions of the job and have equal access to the benefits and privileges of employment.
The interactive process should begin when you become aware of the need for a reasonable accommodation. An employee or applicant doesn’t need to use any specific word or phrase, or even mention the ADA. Because of this, it’s important that managers recognize when a request is being made or an accommodation would be appropriate.