What are my Employer’s Obligations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Since 1992, individuals with disabilities have been protected from discrimination in the workplace thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees with a disability at any stage of the employment process. This includes recruiting, hiring, interviewing, and even promoting employees. If you invoke the ADA while you are employed somewhere, you are also legally protected from retaliation by your employer.

The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to all companies with 15 or more employees on its payroll. Additionally, Michigan has its own law that offers protections for disabled employees and job seekers. Called the Persons with Disabilities Civil Rights Act, the law applies to all employers in the state. 

Who is “Disabled” According to the ADA?

The ADA defines someone with a disability as someone who, as the result of a mental or physical impairment, cannot participate in a major life event. A major life event is something like breathing, walking, hearing, or seeing. It is important to note that the ADA does not require employers to select a job candidate who happens to be disabled over another comparable qualified job candidate. It simply means they cannot show prejudice in any stage of the hiring process.

To be qualified for a position, you must have the requisite education, prior work experience, skills, and other qualities as laid out in the job description. You must also be able to complete the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodations. The essential functions of a job are determined by several factors, including the time spent performing the functions and whether or not the job exists to carry out the functions.

Undue Hardships

There are limits to what an employer is required to provide an employee with disabilities. If the required accommodation is determined to have placed an undue hardship on a company, then the employer is not obligated to furnish the working situation for the employee. Employers are only required to provide reasonable workplace accommodations to disabled employees. What qualifies as reasonable accommodations vary from workplace to workplace; what’s feasible for a family restaurant will not be the same as what’s feasible for Pizza Hut’s corporate office, for example. 

Conclusion

A large problem for employees with disabilities is that discrimination in the workplace is not usually overt. The timing of when the discrimination occurred will be important, but it can be difficult to prove that an ADA violation has occurred. If you need help proving your discrimination case, contact us today to get started with a consultation.