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Do you know how federal law protects you as a disabled worker?

Federal law provides disabled workers with some protections against discrimination. To be protected by the The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, you have to be both qualified to do a job and be disabled. If an employer covered under the act discriminates against you because of your disability, then you might have a legal claim against that employer.

The ADA covers private employers, government employers at both local and state levels, labor organizations and employment agencies such as temp agencies. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces parts of the ADA, including enforcing the act with employers that have at least 15 active workers.

How do you know if you have a disability that would qualify under the ADA? Any mental or physical impairment that puts limitations on how you conduct a major life activity is considered to be a disability under the ADA. If you aren't sure if you would qualify under the ADA but believe you are being discriminated against because of an impairment, then speaking with an experienced lawyer can help you understand your options.

It's important to note that the ADA does require that you are qualified for a job before you can claim that an employer discriminated against you in not hiring or promoting you or terminating you. If you are applying for a computer programming job and you have no computer programming skills, for example, you could likely not claim disability discrimination if an employer didn't hire you.

The ADA does require that employers provide reasonable accommodations so that qualified disabled workers can continue to perform job functions. This might include an altered schedule, adjustments to equipment or training or upgrades to make the workplace accessible.

Source: The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "The ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability," accessed April 27, 2016

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