Are you working and disabled and wondering whether you are getting fair treatment in your workplace? The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is a federal law which prohibits discrimination within employment for anyone suffering from a disability. All types of employers are affected by this law including both local and state government, employment agencies, private employers, labor-management committees and labor organizations. The act covers all elements of employment practice from recruitment to promotions and from benefits to pay. If you assert your rights under the ADA, your employer cannot retaliate against you by law. As long as your company has 15 or more workers, you are protected by ADA regulations or if you work for a local or state government program you are protected no matter how many workers there are in your organization.
Am I Covered By The ADA?
If you suffer from a mental or physical impairment which limits substantially a major activity in life, you are classified as having a disability which is covered under the ADA. Some impairments which are covered under the act including impairments which have a significant limit on seeing, speaking, walking, hearing, breathing or performing a manual task. To be protected, you must have the necessary qualifications to carry out the basic job role itself, although reasonable accommodations are acceptable to make it possible for you to do the job. You must have the necessary experience, skills and education to fulfil the role’s requirements and be capable of performing all the position’s essential functions.
What Are Reasonable Accommodations?
Under the terms of the ADA, Reasonable Accommodations mean any adjustments or changes which need to be carried out in your workplace to enable you to do your job and to enjoy all the benefits which are given to workers who don’t have disabilities. The ADA doesn’t cover any measure which would create undue hardship due to expense or difficulty, but it does cover accommodations such as:
- Modified or flexible working schedules
- Modified or new equipment
- Adjusted employee policies or training materials
- Accessibility measures (such as lifts)
- Provision of interpreters
- Restructuring of job roles
- Reassignment to different positions
Can I Be Asked Questions About My Disability?
Although the ADA forbids any employer from making you have a medical exam before giving you a job, the offer could be made condition on passing a medical exam if every other employee who has the same type of job also has to undergo medical examination as a condition of their employment.
I Think I’m Being Discriminated Against, What Do I Do?
If you think you’re being discriminated against due to your disability, it’s important to contact the EEOC in a 180 day period. If local or state laws also protect you from discrimination due to disability you may have up to 300 days from the act of discrimination to file your charge. A charge can be filed by visiting or calling the EEOC field office local to you. The agency will then investigate the incident and, if they conclude that you were, in fact, discriminated again, you will be entitled to receive compensation. This can take several forms including being hired, reinstated, promoted or given back missing wages as well as being given reasonable accommodation or even having your attorney fees repaid.
Extra Assistance From The ADA
The EEOC offers a technical assistance program which aims to promote better ADA compliance amongst employers while helping those suffering from disabilities to gain a better understanding of their rights under the ADA. There is also a Technical Assistance Manual published by the EEOC to help the ADA regulations to be practically applied to particular employment activities and jobs.
Do I Need Legal Help?
If you believe you’re being discriminated against at work because of your disability or if you believe you’ve been recently discriminated against, it’s important to seek legal help. A specialist employment and disabilities attorney can answer any questions you may have and help you to demand fairer treatment at work. It is absolutely essential that nobody with a disability accepts discrimination in the workplace in silence. It is only by speaking up and asserting your rights under the ADA that you can enjoy a fair working environment and a fulfilling working life.