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What an employer needs to know about the Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was put in place for the purpose of protection for Americans that suffer from disabilities. This protection extends to disability in employment, government (both state and local), transportation, telecommunications and public accommodations. The act prohibits discrimination in all areas.

This blog will offer a brief overview on the basics of the ADA from the perspective of employers.

What constitutes "disability" in the ADA?

A person can be regarded as disabled if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that puts a limit on a "major life activity", as described by the ADA. An major life activity is something that is expected to be easy to carry out for any person in his or her day-to-day life.

What standards are held to employers?

Title I of the ADA focuses on employment. The ADA employment title holds that an employer with 15 or more employees must exhibit no discrimination against those with disabilities when it comes to hiring, promotions, training and other privileges. In this light, it is prohibited to ask questions about a person's disability during the interview or application process.

If an applicant is otherwise qualified for the job that he or she has applied for, and aside from his or her disability would be the successful applicant, an employer must make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the new employee. An employer must make reasonable changes to the environment to assist with the known disabilities of the new employee.

If an employee is feels that he or she has been discriminated against, they can file a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission (EECO) within 180 days.

Source: Findlaw, "The americans with disabilities act overview," accessed Aug. 23, 2017

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