FAQ Disability Discrimination

What is the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The American with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits discrimination against disabled persons in the areas of employment, public services, public accommodations, transportation and communication.  The ADA makes disability discrimination illegal.

As an individual with a disability, how am I protected from discrimination in the workplace?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an individual with a disability during the hiring process or in the workplace.  In addition, under the Act, an employer cannot discriminate against an applicant or employee who has a business, social or familial relationship with a disabled person.

Who is Protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

A person must be a "qualified individual with a disability, who can, with reasonable accommodations, perform the ‘essential functions’ of a job."

There are three different groups of individuals who are protected under the Act: (1) a "qualified individual" with a physical or mental impairment that "substantially limits a major life activity"; (2) a person who has a "record of" disability; or (3) a person who is "regarded as" having a disability.

Who is not covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act ADA?

People with the following conditions are not protected by the ADA: kleptomania, homosexuality or bisexuality, current use of illegal drugs, compulsive gambling, sexual behavior disorders, and disorders caused by the current illegal use of drugs.

When is a person considered disabled?

A person is considered disabled if: he/she has a physical or mental impairment substantially limiting a major life activity; or he/she has a record of disability; or he/she is regarded as having a disability.

What is a "major life activity"?

Some examples of what constitutes a "major life activity" under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) include: seeing, hearing, talking, walking, reading, learning, breathing, taking care of oneself, lifting, sitting and standing.

Who is a "qualified individual with a disability"?

A "qualified individual with a disability" is someone who can perform the "essential functions" of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.  An employer does not have to hire a disabled applicant who is not qualified to do the job.  Under the ADA, an employer may select the most qualified person for the job so long as the decision is not based on the fact that the applicant has a disability.

What is a "reasonable accommodation"?

An employer has provided its disabled employees with a "reasonable accommodation" when it has: (1) made existing facilities readily accessible to and usable by disabled individuals; and (2) restructured the job in terms of hours, vacant positions, equipment, policies and procedures. The employer is not obligated to provide a reasonable accommodation where such accommodation results in "undue hardship" to the employer. Under the "undue hardship" defense, the employer does not need to provide a reasonable accommodation where a particular accommodation is very difficult to attain or is too expensive, or where the changes would be substantial modifications, are disruptive or fundamentally alter the nature of the operation of the business.

How are “essential functions” of a job defined?

"Essential Functions" is defined as; the basic job duties that an employee must be able to perform with or without reasonable accommodation

Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) cover alcoholics?

Yes.  For purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an alcoholic is treated as a person with a disability and is protected by the Act if he/she is qualified to perform the essential functions of the job.  However, an alcoholic is not completely immune from discipline, discharge or denial of employment where his/her use of alcohol adversely impacts job performance or conduct.

If I have a short-term illness or disability, am I covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Usually, a temporary or short-term injury or illness does not qualify as a disability.  In order to be covered, the impairment must "substantially limit" one or more major life activities.  For example, if a person were to have any of the following impairments, that person would be protected under the ADA: AIDS, cancer, cerebral palsy, tuberculosis, heart disease, hearing or visual impairments.

What is considered discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The following is a non-exhaustive list of actions that my give rise to a claim of discrimination: using employment tests or other types of selection criteria that are not job-related nor necessary for the business and which tend to screen out disabled applicants; denying a person employment because of his/her relationship with a disabled individual; and refusing to make reasonable accommodations for a qualified disabled employee, unless such accommodations cause an undue burden on the employer.

What is an employer prohibited from asking me either on an application or at an interview?

Examples of questions that an employer cannot ask you on an application or at an interview include: whether you have had any diseases or conditions in the past 3 years; whether you have ever been hospitalized; whether you are taking prescription drugs; whether you have ever been treated for drug addiction or alcoholism; whether you have ever filed a worker's compensation insurance claim; or whether you have any physical defects, disabilities or impairments which may affect your performance in the position for which you are applying/interviewing.  However, some of these questions may be asked once the employer has extended you a job offer.

What is a "place of accommodation"?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to all facilities which are open or used by the public, such as hotels, parks, zoos, schools, movie theaters, shopping centers, etc.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to any public accommodation, commercial facility and public transportation services offered by private entities whose goods or services affect commerce.  These public facilities may be required to make their facility readily accessible to disabled individuals, unless providing this access would be "structurally impracticable" or the services would be fundamentally altered or cause an undue hardship to the covered entity.

What types of damages can I recover under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if I demonstrate discrimination?

If the entity is found to have discriminated against you, you may be provided the following relief depending on your claim: back pay award, front pay award, hiring, reinstatement, promotion, compensatory and punitive damages, an order to make the facility accessible to disabled individuals, reasonable accommodations and other forms of relief.



PrintPrint | Sitemap
© 2015 Brendan Chao. All rights reserved. Attorney Advertising.