Individuals with disabilities have much to offer in the workplace. With accommodation, people with mental or physical impairments can be gainfully employed, providing invaluable skills, experience, and knowledge to the American workforce. Disabled workers are protected from discrimination by two important federal statutes, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, as well as additional legislation in some states.
The ADA is a federal statue protecting individuals with disabilities from employment discrimination in the private sector in a variety of ways. The Rehabilitation Act offers the same basic protections for disabled workers, but applies to federal agencies, contractors, and any organization receiving federal funding. Both Acts apply to workers the government considers “qualified.”
Individuals with a disability who meet legitimate skill, education, experience, or other requirements of the employment position, and can perform the essential job functions with or without accommodation are considered qualified workers and are therefore covered by the ADA or Rehabilitation Act. Employers are prohibited from disqualifying a potential or current employee on the basis that the disability limits incidental or marginal tasks.
Qualified workers are guaranteed reasonable accommodations under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act. This means that disabled workers capable of performing the basic job tasks are entitled to some modification or adjustment to their job based on their disability. Examples of reasonable accommodations include adjusting a disabled employee’s schedule, modifying their equipment, or making the physical working space more accessible. Any accommodation placing an undue hardship on a business or federal workplace is not required by law.
Qualified workers generally fall into three categories. Individuals with a physical or mental disability that limits one or more major life activities qualify. Workers with cell growth, brain, respiratory, and immune system disorders may also qualify. Workers with a disease in remission are also covered under the ADA or Rehabilitation Act if they could possibly become disabled if the disease returns.
In some cases, employees with a history of drug or alcohol abuse also qualify as disabled under the law. Employers that discover an individual suffers from alcoholism may not terminate the worker unless the abuse of alcohol adversely affects job performance or conduct. Employers also have the right to deny employment to any individual whose actions constitute a direct threat to public safety. Individuals currently using illegal drugs are not protected by the ADA or Rehabilitation Act.
South Jersey Employment Lawyers: Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Protect Workers With Disabilities From Discrimination
The South Jersey employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates advocate for victims of disability discrimination. If you have been fired, demoted, or denied employment on the basis of your disability, or if your employer refused to provide reasonable accommodations that would enable you to perform your job, our South Jersey discrimination lawyers can help. Call our Center City Philadelphia office today at 215-569-1999 or complete our online contact form to get started. We proudly represent clients throughout the Philadelphia and South Jersey areas.