What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Submitted by Elizabeth on Tue, 01/10/2023 - 12:38

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers may not discriminate against disabled workers or candidates.

Unfortunately, some employers fail to obey the law. When this happens, workers can take legal action by filing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) discrimination claims. In doing so, a worker who has been the victim of discrimination may be allowed to seek compensation for and potential reinstatement to a job they have lost.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities (i.e., qualified individuals). It applies to employers, public accommodations, as well as transportation providers.

The ADA requires that employers provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, unless doing so would create an undue hardship. Reasonable accommodations are any changes to the workplace, or the way work is done, that would allow an individual with a disability(s) to perform the essential duties of their job.

The ADA also prohibits employers from engaging in various forms of discrimination against disabled employees. This can include passive discrimination. If an employer knows discrimination is occurring, it is their responsibility to address it.

Examples of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violations in the workplace include:

  • Refusing to hire job candidates based on their disabilities
  • Not promoting or giving raising to employees due to their disabilities
  • Not making the workplace accessible to employees with disabilities
  • Not equipping disabled employees with assistive technology
  • Not making training or communication accessible to employees with disabilities

However, these are just a few examples. If you are unsure of whether an employer’s behavior constitutes ADA discrimination, discuss your case with an attorney.

Who Is Protected Under the ADA?

The ADA applies to qualified individuals with physical or mental impairments that interfere with their major life activities, such as caring for oneself or performing basic daily tasks.

Common examples of impairments include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Mental retardation
  • Visual impairments
  • Speech impairments
  • Hearing impairments
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Certain learning disabilities
  • HIV

Once again, this is not a complete list. Again, if you believe you have a valid disability discrimination case, a lawyer can help explain whether your employer engaged in disability discrimination against a qualified individual.

What Can I Do If My Employer Violated the ADA?

If you suspect your employer is guilty of an ADA violation, you should take the following steps:

  • Keep a log in which you track and describe instances of discrimination.
  • Gather evidence of discrimination, such as emails, witness statements, and performance reviews.
  • File a formal complaint with HR. Your employee handbook should explain how to do this.
  • File a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Get Help With Your ADA Discrimination Claim

Statistics indicate ADA discrimination claims are rising. This could mean disability discrimination in the workplace is unfortunately becoming worse instead of better.

If you believe your employer has committed an ADA violation, be aware that you may have a better chance of holding them accountable if you have proper representation from a disability attorney. For more information, complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page to get connected with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website.

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