The American with Disabilities Act or (ADA) is a law that protects qualified employees from being discriminated based on their disabilities.
A qualified individual with disability is defined as an applicant or employee who can perform the important functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.
To be considered an individual with disability you have to:
Â· Have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Â· Have a record of the physical or mental impairment
Â· Have been regarded as having such impairment.
Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees to help them adjust in the workplace.
To understand the law more, here are some ADA facts that you might not know:
15 or more Employees
The ADA only covers employers and companies with 15 or more employees.
This includes federal and state government offices, employment agencies and labor organizations.
This means that if the employer has less than 14 or less employees, they will not be covered by the law.
It might be better to consider state laws such as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
The employee has to request for accommodation
For an employer to provide reasonable accommodation, the qualified employee with disability has to request for it.
Each employee with a disability has their own accommodation need so the employer cannot just decide on their own.
There has to be consultation between the employer and employee to discuss the accommodations that would make their job easier.
There are accommodations that employers are not required to provide
Not all accommodations requested by the disabled employee will be given by the employer.
Under ADA, the employer is only required to provide reasonable accommodation and they can deny an accommodation request if it causes them undue hardships.
Generally, there are three situations where the requested accommodation can provide undue hardship to the employer; those are:
Â· The cost of providing the accommodation is too high
Â· The requested accommodation affects the operation of the business
Â· The requested accommodation intrudes on the rights of the other employees.
Medical Examinations and Drug Tests
Under ADA, applicants should not be asked about the nature, severity and even the existence of a disability. The extent that the employer may ask is about the ability of the applicant to perform the functions of the post.
The employer may require an applicant to undergo a medical examination but only if it is pre-requisite for all employees admitted.
However, those who use illegal drugs or alcohol are not protected under ADA.
They cannot use the ADA as an excuse to be exempt from drug or alcohol tests.
They will be treated under the same standards as other employees.