Employment Discrimination Blog

Sunday, February 13, 2022

What to Know About the Americans with Disabilities Act

Just because you have a disability, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be entitled to the same rights as someone without one. Unfortunately, this isn’t always what occurs; sometimes people discriminate against individuals with disabilities. This was the catalyst for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Act, which went into effect in 1990, entitles those with disabilities to the same rights for fair housing, education, public transportation, public accommodations, employment, and telecommunications. The ADA requires that businesses provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities and prohibits them from discriminating against them.

The ADA is applicable to:

  • Businesses
  • Organizations
  • Government agencies that employ at least 15 workers
  • Labor unions
  • Employment agencies

Who is Considered to Have a Disability Under the ADA?

In order for an individual to receive protection under the ADA, he or she must have a medical condition that, by definition, rises to the level of a disability:

  • A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
  • A history of physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; or
  • A regard by others as having a disability

Nowhere in the ADA does it specifically list which impairments qualify as a disability for purposes of protection. Therefore, whether or not your issue constitutes a disability may be arguable. But regardless of what impairment or condition you have, the most important factor considered is whether such condition substantially limits a major life activity.

Businesses May Not Discriminate

Under the ADA, businesses are prohibited from discriminating against workers with disabilities. This applies to all employment decisions including:

  • Recruitment
  • Hiring
  • Wages
  • Benefits
  • Training opportunities
  • Work conditions
  • Assignments, projects, or shifts
  • Termination

Businesses also have a duty to respond to any instances of harassment against workers with disabilities by supervisors, co-workers, and clients; they must take action.

What is Considered “Reasonable?”

In order to adhere to the ADA, employers must provide reasonable accommodations. So, what exactly is considered “reasonable?” A reasonable accommodation would be an alternative method of doing something to allow the individual with a disability to perform his or her essential job responsibilities, to apply to a job, etc. Examples of this may be purchasing equipment to help someone, excluding difficult functions that are non-essential, and modifying the individual’s schedule, to name a few. However, an employer is not required to take such actions as would create an “undue hardship.” That which is considered an undue hardship is determined upon each case (the size of the business, its financial resources, the individual’s essential job responsibilities, etc.) An employer is not required to provide any accommodations that are beyond the realm of reasonable.

The GA Employment Law Attorneys at Pankey & Horlock, LLC Can Help

If you believe that you have been discriminated against by an employer due to your disability, it’s important that you understand your rights and what you are entitled to. You may be unsure as to whether or not you have the right to compensation or reinstatement of your job. Fortunately, the attorneys at Pankey & Horlock, LLC can help you to figure out whether your rights have been violated and can hold your employer and those responsible for such treatment accountable. At Pankey & Horlock, LLC, our attorneys understand the importance of such cases and are here to help. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

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