For those with disabilities, the Americans with Disabilities Act has opened many doors. The passage of the ADA guaranteed access to those with disabilities, giving those individuals the ability to travel, work and enjoy leisure activities. But while the ADA made life easier for men and women with disabilities, the act created a great deal of confusion for employers and business owners.
The cost of non-compliance with the ADA can be extremely high, and even a small oversight could land a business owner in hot water. That is why it is so important for employers, business people, property owners and anyone else subject to the ADA to consult with an attorney. Working with an experienced Americans with Disabilities Act attorney now could prevent a lot of hassles, and a great deal of expense, later.
Americans With Disabilities: An Overview
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all employers to make reasonable accommodations for job candidates with mental or physical disabilities, presuming the individual is otherwise qualified for the position. The ADA also prohibits those employers from discriminating against disabled individuals who are able to perform the duties of their job.
About the ADA
The Americans with Disabilities Act was first signed into law on July 26, 1990. At the time, the ADA was the largest and most comprehensive piece of civil rights legislation in a generation.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was designed with the recognition that individuals with medical problems were often unable to work, and that their talents were being wasted. As a result, the ADA holds that disabled individuals are entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
The only way for an employer to opt out of the Americans with Disabilities Act is to claim that the required accommodations represent an undue hardship.
Discrimination vs. Unfair Treatment
It is important for employers to understand the difference between discrimination and unfair treatment. While the ADA strictly prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, the concept of unfair treatment is much less clear.
While the ADA prohibits discrimination, it does still give employers significant latitude regarding hiring, firing and promotions within their workplaces.
Even so, this latitude is not unlimited, and employers who make unlawful decisions may still be subject to censure under the ADA. Employees who face unequal treatment based on things like personality conflicts, favoritism by the boss or simple unfairness will probably not be able to file under the ADA, but a worker who is discriminated against because of a disability certainly can.
This lien may seem vague to the employer, but an experienced ADA attorney, or a government official, will be able to sort things out. That is why it is important for employers to get the advice of an experienced ADA lawyer when dealing with tricky personnel decisions.
All Qualifying Disabilities
Many employers fail to grasp the true scope of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and that lack of knowledge can get them in trouble with the law. The ADA covers obvious disabilities like the inability to walk, but also a number of mental and emotional deficits. Understanding what is, and is not, covered by the ADA is very important for employers who want to comply with both the spirit and the letter of the law.
The ADA breaks qualifying disabilities down into a number of different categories. The categories covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act include:
- Injuries that prevent an individual from working for a specific period of time. These can be things like shoulder injuries, eye injuries, hand injuries, broken bones, etc.
- Injuries that require corrective surgery. These can be things like back surgery to deal with chronic pain or a hysterectomy to address hormonal issues.
- Diseases like cancer, epilepsy, asthma, osteoporosis, etc.
- Mental disabilities like bipolar disorders, chronic depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Filing a Claim
If you feel that you have been discriminated against because of a mental or physical disability, it is important to act fast. The ADA provides important protections for the disabled, but there are specific reporting and documentation requirements.
In order to qualify for relief under the ADA, the affected worker must be able to prove that they were subject to unequal treatment based on that disability. That is not always easy, and ADA claims can be notoriously difficult to prove.
In many cases, there will not be specific evidence to prove that the employer acted in a discriminatory manner, but there are other ways to proceed. The best way for employees to protect their rights and pursue their cases is through an experienced employment law attorney, one who specializes in the Americans with Disabilities Act and understands its specific protections and limitations.
An experienced ADA attorney will be able to walk the worker through the process, help them understand the nature of the discrimination and proceed with the case as needed. It is devastating to be the victim of discrimination, but the ADA provides important protections for affected individuals. If you feel that you have been the victim of such discrimination, you should contact a qualified ADA attorney right away, since that is the best way to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.
Questions About ADA Lawsuits?
If you’re an employee with questions about the legality of an employer’s actions against you, then our team can help. We have experience defending employee’s against predatory claims.
If you need help with a case dealing with the Americans with Disabilities Act then we’re available to assist you. We’ll work with you to get back the lost wages and finances you’re legally owed from your employer.
Call our Employment Law team at (480) 464-1111 to discuss your case today.