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The ADA and the rights of disabled workers

Since its passage in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act has opened up countless doors for people with disabilities, allowing them to enter the job market and make a living. The law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employers, unless doing so would cause undue hardship for the business.

What does the ADA do?

The law expressly forbids discrimination against employees or job applicants who have disabilities when it comes to hiring, firing, promotions, benefits, training, work assignments or most any aspect of employment.

The law also requires employers to ensure that their workplace does not become a hostile work environment for employees with disabilities. This means addressing any harassment toward these employees.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

Even if it costs a bit more, employers are required to make necessary accommodations for employees with disabilities. This could include:

  • Widening doors and adding wheelchair ramps
  • Providing interpreters
  • Modifying equipment
  • Reassigning a worker with a disability to a new position if he or she cannot perform his or her original job

Who qualifies as disabled?

Under the ADA, any employee or applicant who has a physical or mental health condition that "significantly limits a major life activity" qualifies. Additionally, anyone with a history of disability qualifies.

Spotting the signs of disability discrimination

If you or a loved one has a disability, it is important to be on the lookout for any potential discrimination. This can include:

  • Singling you out for layoffs, loss of pay, or denying a promotion when you are qualified
  • Refusing to make a reasonable accommodation for you
  • Employees or employers making harassing comments about your condition
  • Treating you differently from other employees

If you suspect discrimination, you should talk with an experienced attorney about your rights and options. The ADA is a complex law, so it is always important to talk to an experienced lawyer before making any decisions.

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