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Disability Discrimination by Association or Relationship

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Provision About Association

Disability discrimination based on association is a type of discrimination that you may not be aware of as an employer. Yet, it is vital that you understand it and take legal measures to prohibit it in your workplace. If you do not, you could be held accountable in a discrimination dispute or lawsuit.

What Is Disability Discrimination by Association?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission EEOC advises employers against taking action based on assumptions or biases toward employees who associate with people who have disabilities.

The following are examples of discrimination based on association:

  • Refusing to hire an applicant who has a disabled child and assuming that the employee would miss work or would not be dependable
  • Terminating the job of an employee because of a relationship with a person who is HiV-positive due to fear that the employee would contract the disease
  • Health care coverage denial to an employee because of a disabled dependent

What Does the ADA Consider as Association or Relationship?

The association does not have to be with a family member, but could be a relationship with anyone else as well. The issue is whether the relationship influences the employment decision being made.

What Types of Employment Related Decisions Does the ADA Prohibit?

Association based on disability should not influence the employer in making decisions about:

  • Hiring
  • Promotion
  • Termination
  • Health care benefits
  • Employee benefits
  • Hours and Wages (part-time or full-time jobs)
  • Job positions

The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees. However, the NYC Commission on Human Rights also has a provision for disability association that extends to all employers regarding job applicants and employees.

The ADA requires reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. However, employers do not have to make reasonable accommodations to employees who have associations with persons who have disabilities.

Stephen Hans & Associates can assist you in complying with employment laws, such as the ADA and represent you in employment litigation.