The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990

THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITY ACT OF 1990 (ADA) TITLE 1

 

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a qualified applicant or employee with a disability. The ADA applies to all state and local governments, as well as private employers with 15 or more employees.

The ADA defines an individual with a disability as a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, (2) has a record or history of a substantially limiting impairment, or (3) is regarded or perceived by an employer as having a substantially limiting impairment.

As with all job applicants, an applicant with a disability must be able to meet the employer’s requirements for the job, such as education, training, employment experience, skills, or licenses. In addition, an applicant with a disability must be able to perform the "essential functions" of the job the fundamental duties either on her own or with the help of "reasonable accommodation." However, an employer does not have to provide a reasonable accommodation that will cause "undue hardship," which results in a significant difficulty or expense to the employer.

Reasonable Accommodation starts in the interview process. Employers are required to provide "reasonable accommodation" — appropriate changes and adjustments — to enable you to be considered for a job opening. Reasonable accommodation may also be required to enable you to perform a job, gain access to the workplace, and enjoy the "benefits and privileges" of employment available to employees without disabilities. An employer cannot refuse to consider you because you require a reasonable accommodation to compete for or perform a job.

It is recommended the a person who needs a “reasonable accommodation” for some aspect of the hiring process advise an employer as soon as possible. An employer needs advance notice to provide many accommodations, such as sign language interpreters, alternative formats for written documents, and adjusting the time allowed for taking a written test. An employer may also need advance notice to arrange an accessible location for a test or interview.

You must inform the employer that you need some sort of change or adjustment to the application/interviewing process because of your medical condition. You can make this request orally or in writing, or someone else might make a request for you (e.g., a family member, friend, health professional, or other representative, such as a job coach).

What the Employer Can’t Ask You

The ADA prohibits employers from asking questions that are likely to reveal the existence of a disability before making a job offer. This is commonly know as “the pre-offer period”. This prohibition covers written questionnaires and inquiries made during interviews, as well as medical examinations. However, such questions and medical examinations are permitted after extending a job offer but before the individual begins work, called “the post-offer period”. Some examples of prohibited questions during the pre-offer period include:

Do you have a heart condition?

Do you have asthma or any other difficulties breathing?

Do you have a disability which would interfere with your ability to perform the job?

How many days were you sick last year?

Have you ever filed for workers’ compensation?

Have you ever been injured on the job?

Have you ever been treated for mental health problems?

What prescription drugs are you currently taking?

An employer does not have to hire you if you are unable to perform all of the essential functions of the job, even with reasonable accommodation. However, an employer cannot reject you only because the disability prevents you from performing minor duties that are not essential to the job

FOR A FULL TEXT OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT CLICK HERE.


 
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