How the ADA protects disabled workers
Many disabled individuals who are able to work are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act protects the workers who have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, from discrimination in the course of their employment. Those protections extend not only to their actual job but also matters in relation to recruiting and hiring as well.
Under the ADA an employer must reasonably accommodate a disabled employee or potential employee’s disability so long as that accommodation would not cause the employer undue hardship. This accommodation may take many forms.
For example, an employer may need to make physical changes such as making a workplace accessible for those with physical disabilities and modifying devices or equipment. It may also need to change policies, training materials or work schedules. In some cases the accommodation could lead to jobs being restructured or a disabled worker being reassigned to a position that is vacant.
Workers who believe that they are being discriminated against by an employer have a certain amount of time to take action. To file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a claim must be filed with an EEOC field office within 180 days of when the alleged discrimination occurred. The remedies associated with a claim filed with the EEOC are designed to place the disabled worker in the position he or she would likely be were it not for the discrimination, including:
- Reasonable accommodation
- Back pay
Individuals facing discrimination under the ADA could benefit from working with a lawyer while pursuing their claim. Because of the time limits associated with such claims, the sooner they contact a lawyer, the better.
Source: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, ”The ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability,” Accessed Oct. 2, 2014