The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.
This law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term of employment.
Here are 10 things you may not know about the ADA:
- A deaf applicant may request a sign language interpreter during a job interview.
- Employers must keep all medical records and information confidential and in separate medical files.
- An employee with diabetes can have regularly scheduled breaks during the workday to eat properly and monitor blood sugar and insulin levels.
- A blind employee may request for someone to read the information posted on a bulletin board.
- An employee with cancer can have leave to have radiation or chemotherapy treatments.
- Employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability.
- Tests for illegal drugs are not subject to the ADA's restrictions on medical examinations.
- Allowing an individual to work from home or from another location different from the employer's workplace may be a form of reasonable accommodation.
- Architectural/Transportation Tax Deduction is an annual deduction available to businesses of any size for the costs of removing physical barriers for people with disabilities.
- Expecting women may be protected under the ADA, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Under these laws, if an employee is temporarily unable to perform her job due to pregnancy, the employer must treat her the same as any other temporary disability employee and provide reasonable accommodations.
By considering the ADA, employers can extend their reach and continue to diversify their workforce. By knowing their rights, employees with disabilities can participate in the working force and make a living without interference. The ADA may not be perfect, but as Dart, the vice chair of The National Council on Disability wrote in 1990, “ it is only the beginning. It is not a solution. Rather, it is an essential foundation on which solutions will be constructed.”
Fact Sheet: Disability Discrimination. (1997, January 15). US EEOC. https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/fact-sheet-disability-discrimination
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