Are You Eligible for Protection Under the ADA? 3 Questions to Consider
What employees need to know about coverage under the Americans with Disabilities Act
Do you have a physical or mental impairment that is affecting your ability
to do your job? Have you been fired because of a medical condition? Are
you getting a hard time at work because you have to provide care for a
disabled loved one?
If so, you may be covered under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA not only protects qualifying individuals from discrimination,
it also allows them to seek certain reasonable job accommodations.
However, it’s important to know that ADA coverage isn’t dependent
on specific conditions or diagnoses. Rather, it requires that each individual’s
circumstances are considered on a case-by-case basis.
So how you can tell if you might qualify for coverage under the ADA?
3 questions to ask
To see if you are eligible for ADA coverage, consider these three things:
- Are you qualified to do the job in question? For example, do you have the
appropriate education, experience, and professional licenses to perform
the tasks that are required in a given position?
- Are you suffering from a physical or mental impairment that substantially
limits a life activity? That may include any condition that makes it difficult
for you to see, hear, walk, speak, breathe, perform manual tasks, care
for yourself, learn, or work.
- Can you perform the essential functions of the job, with or without accommodation?
To answer this question, you’ll need to look at the main functions
of the job – those duties that make up the core of the position.
Consider if you’re able to accomplish those duties on your own.
If the answer is no, consider whether you would be able to do so if you
were given assistance (such as special tools or equipment), or if your
job were modified in some way (e.g., a schedule change or relocation to
a different area).
If you answered yes to the above questions, there’s a good chance
that you may qualify for ADA protection. But there are other factors that
may also make you eligible.
When disability is not a straight-forward matter
Believe it or not, the ADA also offers some protection for people who may
have suffered disabling conditions in the past, even if those conditions
no longer affect them. For example, an employee generally can’t
be denied a promotion because his or her supervisor suspects that a prior
injury or medical condition would affect the person’s performance.
The ADA also protects people who may be “regarded as” disabled.
For example, a company may violate the ADA by refusing to hire someone
based on an assumption that the person suffers from a condition such as
ADHD, chronic fatigue syndrome, or diabetes.
People who are in caregiving roles to others who are disabled may be protected
by the “association” provision of the ADA. For instance, a
supervisor who refuses to promote a staffer because the employee has a
special needs child may be violating the ADA.
What It Means to You
If you believe that your rights have been compromised over an issue related
to the ADA, it’s a good idea to speak to an attorney.
Call or email us today to discuss your unique situation.