Disabilities Discrimination at Work: EEOC Guidelines and Info for Employers

FAQs about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Disabilities discrimination at work is something all employers want to avoid. Often, having more information is instrumental in helping you do this.

The following are frequently asked questions that employers have about accommodating workers with disabilities and other ADA related matters.

How do you know if a worker has a disability?

Under the ADA, an employee has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits them. Examples of substantial limitations include impairment that limit activities such as:

  • Seeing
  • Hearing
  • Speaking
  • Breathing
  • Performing manual tasks
  • Walking
  • Self-care
  • Learning
  • Working

In addition, a mitigating measure may disqualify them as disabled. A mitigating measure is something that helps the individual to the extent that they can perform the major life activity without substantial limitation. An example would be a person who is hard of hearing, but wearing hearing aids enables them to hear well.

Must the disabled person be able to perform the job?

Yes. The ADA does not prevent the employer from hiring the best qualified job candidate. As an employer, you must know what the essential functions of the job are. You will base the job requirements on:

  • Educational background
  • Employment experience
  • Skills
  • Licenses
  • Other job-related standards

If the applicant can perform the essential job functions with reasonable accommodation, then they could be a qualified applicant.

What responsibility does an employer have to provide reasonable accommodations?

Reasonable accommodations allow disabled workers to perform the job equal to those without disabilities.

Examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Modified equipment or devices
  • Restructuring jobs
  • Allowing part-time or modified job schedules
  • Reassignment to a vacant position
  • Adjusting tests, training materials or policies
  • Providing readers or interpreters
  • Making the workplace accessible for people with disabilities

What is undue hardship?

If providing an accommodation would cause undue hardship, employers do not have to provide the accommodation. Undue hardship could occur due to costs or disruption that would fundamentally alter the business operation. However, employers might be able to acquire funding for reasonable accommodations from outside sources. Or, costs may be offset by tax credits or deductions, in which case there would not be undue hardship.

As an employer or do you have questions or concerns about disabilities discrimination?

By addressing legal concerns or questions about discrimination, employers can often avoid dispute and costly lawsuits. It is wise to seek legal advice at the outset of a potential discrimination issue. If you have employment law questions, arrange an appointment. Discuss your concerns with an attorney at Stephen D. Hans & Associates, P.C. Call (718) 275-6500.