Employment Fact Sheet
The ADA and Employment — What Are Your Rights?
Who Is Protected
The ADA prohibits discrimination in employment against qualified individuals on the basis of disability. A disability under the ADA is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, learning or working.
In order to be protected, an individual must be qualified and able to perform the essential functions or duties of a job, with or without reasonable accommodation.
The ADA protects:
- Qualified individuals with a disability
- Qualified individuals with a history of a disability
- Qualified individuals whom an employer believes to have a disability, even if he or she does not
What Is Prohibited
The ADA prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, including:
- Job application procedures
- All other employment-related activities
An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the accommodation would be an undue hardship that would require significant difficulty or expense. Reasonable accommodation may include:
- Providing or modifying equipment or devices
- Job restructuring
- Part-time or modified work schedules
- Reassignment to a vacant position
- Adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials or policies
- Providing readers and interpreters
- Making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities
What an Employer Can Ask
An employer can:
- Ask if an individual can perform the duties of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.
- Ask an individual to describe or demonstrate how, with or without reasonable accommodation, he or she will perform the duties of the job.
- Make a job offer conditioned on passing a medical examination, if such medical examination is required of all entering employees.
- Conduct voluntary medical examinations that are part of an employee health program, and may provide medical information required by State workers' compensation laws to the agencies that administer such laws.
An employer cannot:
- Ask if an individual is disabled.
- Ask about the nature of a disability.
- Refuse to hire an individual because of a disability if the individual can perform the essential functions of the job with an accommodation.
- Require that an applicant take a medical examination prior to being offered a job.
- Once employed, require that an individual take a medical examination or ask questions about a disability unless related to the job and necessary for the conduct of business.
- Reject an individual because of information about a disability revealed by a valid medical examination, unless the reasons for rejection are job-related and necessary for the conduct of business.
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