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Employee Disabilities and Reasonable Accommodations Under the ADA

November 14, 2011

In a related Carson, California employment lawyer blog, our labor and employment attorneys reported about the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) role as the protector of the federal laws prohibiting disability discrimination in the workplace.

Under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA) a disabled and qualified job applicant or employee is defined as being an individual who can perform their necessary job functions, with or without reasonable accommodation--an adjustment or modification given by the employer in order to help disabled employees have equal employment opportunities.

Employers are expected, under the ADA, to reasonably accommodate the disability of a qualified worker or job applicant, unless the disability of the employee creates an undue hardship on the employer's business operations. A reasonable accommodation includes making job facilities that are available to employees equally as accessible to disabled individuals, modifying a job to benefit the disabled employee by changing a job position or work schedule, or getting equipment or devices for disabled employees to help assist them in the employment process.

According to the EEOC, not all requests for reasonable accommodations are the same, and they depend on the individual needs of each disabled employee or applicant. Examples of reasonable accommodation include:

• Providing a deaf job applicant with a sign language interpreter during an interview for a position within the company.
• Providing a blind employee with the assistance of another person to help read information on an employee bulletin.
• Allowing a diabetic employee to restructure their workday to include regularly scheduled breaks necessary in order to monitor their blood sugar levels.
• Allowing an employee who is suffering from cancer to have treatments for radiation or chemotherapy.

In order to make a reasonable accommodation, an employer is not required under Title I of the ADA to lower the quality of operations within the company, as well as the production standards. Also, requests for providing personal items such a hearing aids or glasses are not considered a reasonable accommodation for a disability. An employer is also not responsible for providing a reasonable accommodation unless the job applicant or employee asks for one. Once an accommodation is requested, the employer and employee should discuss the disability needs, in order to find the appropriate solution.

Employers are also prohibited under law from asking the job applicants about the nature, severity or existence of a disability--only about their ability to perform the specific job functions required in the position. An employer may condition a job offer on the results of a medical examination, but only if it is required for all employees who are entering the company in similar positions. All medical examinations asked of employees can only be related to the job, and the company's business needs--and all job applicant and employee medical records are subsequently confidential.

It is also illegal under the ADA to retaliate against an employee for opposing discriminating employment practices based on a disability, and for filing a discrimination charge, as well as for testifying or participating in a discrimination investigation, litigation or proceeding under the ADA.

In Costa Mesa, California, call Howard Law, PC today, at 1-800-872-5925.

Facts About the American's with Disabilities Act, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC

About the EEOC, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, EEOC

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC)

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (EEOC)

Facts About the Americans with Disabilities Act

Related Blog Posts:

EEOC Disability Discrimination Protection under the ADA, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 10, 2011

California's Comfort Suites Settles Disability Discrimination Lawsuit for $132,500, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 8, 2011

EEOC Sues Walgreens for Disability Discrimination, California Employment Lawyers Blog, September 19, 2011

Starbucks Agrees to Pay $75K in Dwarfism and Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Settlement, California Employment Lawyers Blog, August 23, 2011

Federal Government Aims to Increase Employment for Disabled People on ADA Anniversary, California Employment Lawyers Blog, August 4, 2011

Verizon's Class Action Disability Discrimination Lawsuit Settles for $20 Million, California Employment Lawyers Blog, July 11, 2011

AutoZone to Pay $600K for Disability Discrimination and Failure to Accommodate, California Employment Lawyers Blog, June 10, 2011

Starbucks Sued for Dwarfism and Disability Discrimination, California Employment Lawyers Blog, May 18, 2011