The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 to protect people with disabilities in the United States from discrimination in private, public, and workplace settings. The part of the ADA that prohibts discrimination from employers is Title VII. Title VII is enforced by The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the ADA under the EEOC, people with disabilities can not be discriminated against on the basis of their disability in the workforce.
Are you protected under Title VII of the ADA?
The ADA protects people with disabilities from being discriminated against due to their disability. The ADA defines “disability” as any physical or mental impairment that inhibits a major life activity such as walking, hearing, seeing, speaking, working, or learning. If you meet this definition of “disability”, and if you are qualified for a job, then you are protected under the ADA.
Title VII requires that an employee with a disability must be qualified for a job in order to be protected from workplace discrimination. This means that the employee must meet the requirements of the job at hand, such as a degree, employment experience, or necessary certifications. This also means that the employee must be able to perform the job at hand with or without “reasonable accommodation”. The term “reasonable accommodation” is explained in full in the next section.
What is a reasonable accommodation?
A “reasonable accommodation” is defined as an adjustment or change to a work environment that allows a qualified employee to perform their job and participate in workplace activities. Under Title VII, the employer is responsible for purchasing and providing their employees with disabilities with the reasonable accommodations they need. This means that workers with disabilities do not have to purchase their own accommodation equipment, such as adaptive computer programs. Title VII ensures that all workers are entitled to receive reasonable accommodations, when needed.
Accommodations are “reasonable” when they are adjustments that do not bring undue hardship onto a company: meaning, the company should not experience significant expense or difficulty making the accommodation. Below are common examples of reasonable accommodations in the workplace:
- Making a workplace wheelchair accessible by installing a ramp
- Purchasing adaptive equipment to help a quadriplegic use their computer during work
- Allowing an employee to work part-time or remotely
- Providing interpreters or readers in the office
What is prohibited under Title VII?
Title VII of the ADA prohibits all employers from discriminating against qualified workers on the basis of their disability. Discrimination in the workplace can take many different forms. Here are common forms of workplace discrimination that are prohibited by Title VII:
- Not hiring a worker because of their disability
- Firing a worker because of their disability
- Not promoting a worker because of their disability
- Paying a worker less money because of their disability
- Refusing to provide job benefits such as dental care because of their disability
- Asking required medical questions on a job application form
Because of Title VII, employers can never discriminate against qualified employees in situations of recruiting, hiring, training, promotions, pay, benefits, firing, or job assignments. Employers can also neverask you if you are disabled, nor can they ask you about the nature of your disability, in the job application process. Employers can only ask if an employee can perform all necessary job functions with or without reasonable accommodation.
What do I do if I have been discriminated against by an employer?
If you feel you have been discriminated against by an employer, you may be protected under Title VII of the ADA. An experienced ADA employment discrimination legal team can help you recover financial compensation and can require the employer to right their wrongs in a court of law.
The unfortunate reality of filing a discrimination suit is that your time is limited. Many states have a limit of 180 days for a discrimination claim, meaning you must file your claim within 180 days of the incident. Other states allow people up to 300 days to file their discrimination claim. Because of this, you must contact an experience ADA employment discrimination legal team as soon as you can following an incident of discrimination.
Fortunately, we know the ADA and we know how to help you. Our team knows disability because we live it everyday. If you have been discriminated against by an employer, please contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the form provided on this page. We can answer any questions for you to help you navigate this difficult process.