Know the Facts: What is Considered a Disability Under Employment Laws?

Have you ever questioned what the disability laws are?

The American With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a law that protects people who have disabilities from being discriminated against. The ADA also protects discrimination against people with disabilities who are in public accommodations, transportation, and state/local government services.

Are you or someone you know working with a legal disability? Do you know what is considered a disability under the ADA? Here are the facts.

Disability Discrimination

If an employer that is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act treats a qualified employee with a disability unfavorably, this can be a violation of the law.

The law enforces that the employer must provide reasonable accommodation to the employee or job applicant unless it creates “an undue” hardship to the employer (causing significant difficulty to get the job done or considerable expense to the employer).

Situations that are considered illegal if an employer were to take negative actions solely based on an individuals disability would include:

Fringe benefits
Job Assignments

Any other term or condition that falls under employment law would be reviewed and taken into account.

Employers That Cover ADA

Job discrimination is considered illegal under ADA if the employer is:

A privately owned employer
Local government and state government
Employment agencies
Labor unions

The ADA also enforces rules set by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

These rules state that employers with 25 or more employees are covered by the law (after July 26, 1992). Then, later was changed to employers with 15 or more employees (after July 26, 1994).

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is any adjustment or change to the work field or space that would allow a qualified employer to participate in any job function.

Reasonable accommodation may include:

Job restructuring
Modifying work schedules or part-time work instead of full-time work
Reassigning a vacant position within the company
Making the workspace accessible using ramps or other devices
Modifying training materials, policies or adjusting examinations
This is a requirement by an entity or employer that is covered under ADA.

Can Employers Ask Questions About My Disability or Require a Medical Examination?

The answer is no. The employer does not have the right to point out or ask if you have any disabilities.

However, an employer may ask you if you can perform the specific duties of the job without reasonable accommodation. The employer can ask how you will be able to perform the job with reasonable accommodation.

What is Considered a Disability?

A disability can be considered a wide range of impairments. Some of the most common disabilities include:

Mobility Impairment
Cerebral Palsy
Bipolar disorder
Missing limbs
Multiple Sclerosis

The ADA gives specific guidance on what’s not considered an impairment. The following are not considered an impairment:

Personality Traits

Check the ADA website to check for all regulations as to what is and isn’t considered a disability.

What Do I Do If I’m Being Discriminated Against?

If you have what is considered a disability and feel you are being discriminated against, gather as much information about your situation and contact any EEOC field office in your area.

They can give you more information on how to file a charge of discrimination. You’ll also want to find an attorney that specializes in disability discrimination lawsuits. If the employer is found at fault, you may be eligible for reinstatement, back pay, or reassignment of duties.

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