How Does the Americans with Disabilities Act Protect You?

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects Americans against disability-related discrimination by making it illegal for any employer to discriminate against a qualified job applicant on the basis of his or her disability. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a disability is any mental or physical impairment that limits a person’s ability in a major life activity.  Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability (as defined by the Act) cannot be used by employers as a reason to discount a job applicant, if that applicant meets all the employer’s requirements for the position. This includes any education, training, experience, skills and qualifications that are needed by a successful candidate.  However, the employer is allowed to refuse employment if the applicant is unable to carry out the “essential functions” of the position, either with or without the help of any “reasonable accommodation”.

Reasonable accommodation refers to equipment that can be used by a disabled person to help them carry out essential job functions. An employer is obligated to provide these facilities only if they are not prohibitively expensive or difficult to obtain.  Reasonable accommodations also include providing a sign language interpreter for a deaf candidate, or computer software or Braille facilities for a blind person who requires these things to help them perform essential job functions.   A reasonable accommodation can be something as simple as moving an employee’s desk closer to a bathroom.

If you believe you have been discriminated against by your employer based on your disability or for more information about the Americans with Disabilities Act, please contact us.