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Employees Protected Under the Americans With Disabilities Act

Posted on in Employment

Under the American With Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are prohibited from discriminating against "qualified individuals with a disability" when it comes to making hiring, firing, and other employment-related decisions. ADA claims often turn on whether a person was a "qualified individual," and whether the person was "disabled" under the meaning of the statute. If you feel that you or a loved one has a viable ADA claim, it is imperative to consult with a disability rights attorney that fully understands how these terms are defined.

Qualified Individuals

A qualified individual is person that is qualified to perform the essential functions of a job "with reasonable accommodation." Being qualified requires that a person have any necessary education, experience, or licenses that a job would normally require. It is crucial to note that an employer must provide "reasonable accommodation." This means employers must take reasonable measures to modify the workplace or the job requirements so that disabled employees are able to complete their work. Whether an accommodation is "reasonable" depends on the cost to the employer as well any impact the accommodation has on other employees. For instance, an accommodation that is prohibitively expensive or causes great disruption to other workers is not likely reasonable.

Defining "Disability"

The ADA defines "disability" as any condition that "substantially limits one or more of your major life activities." Major life activities include such things as walking, eating, speaking, and any basic bodily functions, among others. Whether a person is "substantially limited" is determined based on "The nature and severity of the impairment; the duration or expected duration of the impairment; and the permanent or long term impact, or the expected permanent or long term impact of or resulting from the impairment.” Whether a person is "disabled" is often a highly technical legal question.

An experienced disability rights attorney can help you evaluate an ADA claim. It is important for anyone that believes they were discriminated against by an employer or potential employer on the basis of their disability to understand their legal rights. If you would like more information about this issue, please contact us to schedule a free legal consultation today.

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