Americans with Disabilities Act: What employers should know

You must fully comprehend the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 if your company employs 15 or more people.

What is it?

The Americans with Disabilities Act forbids discrimination against eligible people with disabilities by private businesses, state and local government, labor unions, and other employment organizations.

Discrimination is forbidden in hiring and firing practices, advancement and promotion processes, just remuneration, training, and other workplace rights and advantages. Although the Act initially applied to firms with 25 or more employees, it was amended in 1994 to include encompass those with 15 or more employees.

What is a ‘qualified individual’?

Given that the Act forbids discrimination against “qualified individuals with disabilities,” you must understand who is and is not covered by the Act’s protections. An individual with a disability, as defined under the act, is a person who has a physical, mental, or both impairment that significantly restricts one or more main life activities.

Once a person’s handicap has been established, you must concentrate on the “qualified” part of the act’s definition.

With or without a reasonable accommodation, a qualified candidate or employee with a disability can perform the essential duties of the position.

Remember that people with drug issues who are potential or present workers are not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The statute places limitations on medical examinations or regulations, but there are no limitations on drug tests. Therefore, if the workplace policy prohibits employment for anybody for such drug and/or alcohol usage, employers may hold illicit drug users and alcoholics to the same standard as other candidates and may refuse or terminate employment.

What can you ask?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, there are restrictions on what you as an employer may and cannot ask candidates during interviews and tests. Employers are not permitted to inquire about a candidate’s existence, kind, or degree of a handicap.

Employers could inquire about an applicant’s aptitude for carrying out particular tasks and responsibilities. Just like with any other candidate or employee, base any hiring decision on the applicant’s capacity to carry out these responsibilities. An job rejection or termination decision may be based on a medical examination. However, this type of medical test has to be part of the hiring process for all candidates for positions that are similar, not just those with impairments. Additionally, the medical examination must be appropriate, pertinent to the employment, and in line with business policy.

What is required?

You must provide reasonable workplace adjustments for a candidate or employee who has a handicap if they fulfill the aforementioned requirements for a qualified individual with a disability.

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, reasonable accommodations include, but are not limited to, rearranging jobs, modifying schedules, and reassigning to an open position, as well as purchasing or altering tools, training materials, or policies, and offering qualified readers or interpreters.

These accommodations must, however, be reasonable, and an employer is only compelled to provide them if doing so would not impose an excessive cost or hardship on the employer’s business.

According to the Act, an action would be regarded an undue hardship if it required a great deal of trouble or expenditure in light of the size, financial capabilities, character, and organizational structure of the employer’s firm.

As an employer, you are not forced to provide personal items like hearing aids or spectacles, nor are you obligated to make accommodations that would compromise the quality or production standards of your business.

In order to be a successful employer in today’s workforce, you must be knowledgeable with the Americans with Disabilities Act and keep up with any changes to the legislation. The criteria of this act must be followed to guarantee that all qualified workers with disabilities enjoy the same rights and advantages as those of employees without impairments.