The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination in employment against individuals with physical and/or mental impairments. Because the ADA offers various protections to disabled workers – and because many people may be unaware of their rights under this law, below, we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about the ADA and workplace disability discrimination.
Q – How is ‘disability’ defined by the ADA?
A – For the provisions of the ADA, a disabled person is defined as being someone who:
- Has a mental or physical impairment that significantly “limits one or more major life activities”; OR
- Is believed to have such an impairment.
Q – Am I protected by the terms of the ADA?
A – You are protected under the ADA if you:
- Have a substantially-limiting mental and/or physical impairment (as opposed to a “minor” impairment that does not limit a major life activity)
- Have a history of having such an impairment
- Are believed to have such an impairment.
It’s important to note here, however, that, even with the protections of the ADA, disabled workers still have to be qualified and able to perform the duties of a job (with or without reasonable accommodations). In other words, it’s not illegal for employers to refuse to hire a disabled worker who does not meet the basic job requirements and/or who cannot carry out the duties of the job.
Q – What employment practices does the ADA cover?
A – The ADA prohibits discrimination against disabled workers during all aspects of the employment process, including (but not necessarily limited to):
- Pre-employment screenings, including the recruitment and hiring processes
- Training and job opportunities
- Job assignments, wages and benefits
- Layoffs, demotions and/or firings.
Q – What are ‘reasonable accommodations’?
A – A reasonable accommodation refers to any change or adjustments made to a work situation in order to assist a qualified disabled worker in applying for a job, performing a job or enjoying the same benefits that non-disabled workers enjoy.
Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
- Providing modified devices or equipment
- Changing work schedules
- Altering exams, training or employer policies.
Reasonable accommodations will not include anything that would cause the employer “undue hardship,” which would be anything that would come with substantial expense or difficulty.
Q – Can employers ask about disabilities per the terms of the ADA?
A – An employer cannot specifically ask about disabilities, but it can inquire about a worker’s abilities to carry out certain job duties. Employers can also require applicants to undergo medical exams; however, all applicants for a certain position must be subjected to these exams (not just workers who are thought to be disabled).
Q – What should I do if I think I’ve been subjected to workplace disability discrimination?
A – Contact Urbanic & Associates ASAP to discuss your situation and your best options for proceeding.
Contact a Los Angeles Discrimination Attorney at Urbanic & Associates
Have you been the target of workplace discrimination, harassment or retaliation? If so, you can turn to Los Angeles discrimination attorney at Urbanic & Associates for help defending your rights and pursuing justice. Since 2000, our lawyers have been dedicated, aggressive advocates for our clients, helping them stand up to even the most formidable opponents in any legal setting.
Call us at (310) 216-0900 or send our firm an email using the contact form on this page.
From our offices based in Los Angeles, Attorney James Urbanic provides superior representation to clients throughout Los Angeles County and southern California, including (but not limited to) those in Glendale, Burbank, Alhambra, Van Nuys, Santa Monica and Orange County.