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Important facts about the Americans with Disabilities Act

Simply because you have a disability does not mean you cannot or should not work. In fact, you can have a highly successful career just like anyone else. Unfortunately, disability discrimination is still a persistent issue in many workplaces. 

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees with disabilities in any manner. Here are some important facts about the ADA.

Discrimination

According to the law, employers cannot discriminate against people with disabilities, which applies from application to termination. The law specifically states employers must not:

  • Layoff disabled employees first
  • Pay disabled employees a lower wage than other staff members
  • Fail to consider disabled employees for raises or promotions
  • Exclude disabled employees from job assignments

It is vital for every worker with a disability to know about these rights and protections.

Interviews

Employers cannot ask certain questions regarding medical conditions and medical history during interviews. However, employers can legally ask an applicant or employee whether he or she can meet the basic requirements of the job with reasonable accommodations. It is also lawful for employers to require every new employee to pass a medical exam, as long as disabled applicants are not singled out. 

Reasonable accommodations and undue hardship.

As an employee with a disability, you may require some workplace accommodations to fulfill your job duties. The ADA requires employers to provide accommodations that do not come with undue hardship. Some reasonable accommodations may include offering wheelchair access, purchasing special equipment, modifying schedules or adjusting policies.

An employer is not required to make accommodations if doing so will cause undue hardship. Undue hardships are mostly financial expenses that will hurt the company. If the cost is too disruptive or too high, the employer may refuse accommodation. 

Employer punishments

If an employer does not adhere to ADA guidelines, she or he may face legal repercussions. This may include payment of lost wages, pain and suffering, punitive damages, back pay, court costs, and attorney fees.

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