The Americans with Disabilities Act and Disability Discrimination in the Workplace
April 27, 2018
The ADA or “American with Disabilities Act” was put into place to stop employers from discriminating against employees or possible hires who have a disability whether it is from being hired, the amount of money that they make, the ability to be promoted, being fired as well as other aspects of the job. In addition, the ADA also protects any employees from any retribution from the company if they wanted to try and punish them for trying to exercise their rights under this law, as well as requiring employers to provide reasonable working conditions for those people with disabilities as long as these requirements do not cause the company excessive hardships to do so. The ADA is considered an important step in making sure that people with disabilities are treated fairly in this country, and it is helpful to understand who is covered and protected under this act as well as how these definitions are defined.
Any private employer that has a minimum of 15 employees must follow the ADA rules by law. There are some states that enforce laws such as these for employers with less than 15 employees, but 15 is the number that gets enforced on a federal level. The employees that are covered under the ADA are:
- An employee with a disability – Any employee who has a physical or mental impairment that severely limits any major life activities are protected under the ADA.
- Any employee that has a history of impairment – No employer can discriminate against an employee based on a disability they had previously. An example of this would be an employee who previously went through cancer treatment and is now on remission.
- An employee that the employer considers disabled – Even if the employer thinks that an employee is disabled and that is not the case they cannot discriminate against them due to this false belief as they are still protected through the ADA.
The ADA also clearly defines what a disability is, which workers are protected under this law, when and how these reasonable working conditions must be fulfilled as well as what constitutes an excessive hardship for the company. It defines a disability as any mental or physical impairment that severely limits any major life activities such as walking, reading, communicating and being able to bend over in addition to major bodily functions such as the function of their brain, respiratory or circulatory system, immune system, digestive system, bowel, bladder, neurological, reproductive functions and several others. Any impairment that does not significantly impact a person’s ability to complete any of these major life activities is not considered a disability that is protected by the ADA.
It is important to note that only qualified workers with disabilities are protected by ADA, and those workers are qualified if they are capable of performing the essential tasks that the job requires with or without a reasonable accommodation by the employer. This does not count ancillary duties for the position, so for if example you were an administrative assistant who answers the phone and enters data into a computer they could not discriminate against you because you could not also replace the water cooler and make the coffee which would be considered ancillary duties not essential duties like the ones listed prior. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for all employees as long as it does not require undue hardships on them which are ones that would be an extremely large financial burden on the business to put into place.
If you or a loved one find yourself being discriminated against because of a disability you will want a knowledgeable attorney from The Law Office of Quinn Logue to get you the justice you deserve. Contact The Law Office of Quinn Logue at 412-765-3800 today to schedule a free initial consultation or fill out our convenient online form to begin discussing your case today.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.