Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) aims to prevent discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Not every employee who has a medical condition is protected under this Act. To be protected by this Act an individual must be qualified for the job and have a disability defined by the law. The Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) states that a disability can be shown in one of three ways:
1. An individual has a physical or mental condition that substantially limits a major life activity
2. An individual has a history of a disability
3. An individual is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory and minor
Further, it mandates that an employer must provide reasonable accommodations to assist an otherwise qualified individual in performing their job. The EEOC states, “a reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment to help a person with a disability apply for a job, perform the duties of a job, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment.” Further, the ADA states that a “reasonable accommodation” may include:
· “making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and
· job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.”
An employer must make reasonable accommodations to any known physical or mental limitations of an employee, unless the employer can demonstrate the accommodation would impose an “undue hardship” on the operation of the business/entity. An undue hardship could be any action requiring a significant difficulty or expense. The ADA states an undue hardship is viewed in light of:
· the nature or cost of the accommodation needed,
· the overall financial resources” of the employer/business,
· the size of the company with respect to the number of employees; the number, type, and location of its facilities; and
· the type of operation of the company.
Lastly, federal anti-discrimination laws do not require accommodations for an employee who must take care of a disabled family member, however, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may require an employer to do so.
Contact the Tyler Allen Law Firm by filling out the form on this page or calling (602) 456-0545.