The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against disabled but otherwise qualified individuals. In this FAQ series, we are covering everything you need to know about disability discrimination and your rights, including information about who is protected by the ADA, what the protections are, and how the ADA is enforced.
Am I Protected by the ADA?
The ADA defines disability as: a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, and so on).
An employer cannot discriminate against individuals on the basis of their disability, so long as they fulfill the requirements for the job (education, experience, skills, etc.) and can perform the fundamental job duties on their own or with the help of a reasonable accommodation.
That being said, disabled individuals are not entitled to preferential treatment. An employer is free to select the most qualified applicant available, disabled or not.
What Is Reasonable Accommodation?
The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation for qualified employees unless they can prove that the accommodation would be an undue hardship – in other words, the accommodation would incur a significant expense or be too difficult to implement.
Examples of reasonable accommodation include:
- Restructuring a job,
- Modifying work schedules,
- Providing or modifying assistive equipment,
- Modifying a workspace or restroom,
- Providing readers and interpreters, and
- Giving time off for necessary treatment.
Can an Employer Require Me to Take a Medical Examination During the Hiring Process?
Under no circumstances whatsoever can an employer require you to take a medical examination before you are offered a job, nor can they inquire directly about your disability or the nature or severity of your disability.
However, once a conditional job offer is made, you can be asked to take a test or be asked disability-related questions as long as all entering employees in the same job category are asked the same questions.
Top Employment Lawyers in California
If you have faced discrimination in employment due to your disability, contact the experienced disability discrimination lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm for a FREE consultation. We can provide you with a comprehensive assessment of your rights and best legal options for recovery. Our dedicated legal staff are on standby 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us now at (213) 805-8549.