The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA), which went into effect on January 1, 2009 addresses the standards employers must comply with in dealing with an employee or applicant who has a disability. The ADA prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, training, and other terms and conditions of employment. The ADA applies to employers with fifteen (15) or more employees.
The ADA classifies an individual with a disability if that person has one of the following:
- Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
- The 2008 Amendment expands the definition of major life activities and includes two non-exhaustive lists. Specifically included in Major Life Activities is caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. Included in Major Bodily Functions is the function of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
- A determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as:
- Medication, medical supplies, equipment, or appliances, low vision devices (not normal eyeglasses or contact lenses), prosthetics, hearing aids, cochlear implants, mobility devices or oxygen therapy equipment and supplies;
- Use of assistive technology;
- Reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids or services
- Learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications.
- Has a record of such an impairment; OR
- Is regarded as having such impairment.
- The 2008 Amendment changed the definition of "regarded as" so that it no longer requires a showing that the employer perceived the individual to be substantially limited in a major life activity. However it now states that an applicant or employee is "regarded as" disabled if he or she is subject to an action prohibited by the ADA because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment (that is not transitory and minor (ie lasting 6 months or less).
- Individuals classified only under the "egarded as" prong are not entitled to reasonable accommodations.
- An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
A qualified employee / job applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question. Reasonable accommodation may include but is not limited to:
- Making Existing Facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities;
- Job restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassignment to vacant position;
- Acquiring or modifying equipment/devices, adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies and providing qualified readers or interpreters.
For more information on the ADA, please go to their website at http://www.eeoc.gov
Page Last Updated: Apr 08, 2014 (13:58:37)