Does Your Health Condition Qualify as a Disability?
How coverage under the Americans with Disabilities Act is determined
If you have a physical or mental impairment that makes your job more challenging,
you may have wondered if you qualify for coverage under the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA).
If you qualify for ADA coverage, you may be eligible for certain job accommodations
that might make it easier or possible to continue doing your job, or the
job that you’re applying for. Coverage under the ADA means that
you’ll also be protected from unlawful discrimination due to your
So how can you tell if you’re eligible for ADA coverage? The answer
is not exactly straight-forward, since the ADA doesn’t include a
list of conditions that are or are not covered.
Rather, coverage is determined on a case-by-case basis. After all, what
may be a disabling condition to one person may only be a minor inconvenience
Let’s take a look at how ADA coverage is determined.
What you need to know
ADA coverage often hinges on three questions that are intended to paint
a picture of how your condition affects your life. They are:
- 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 major life activity? Major life activities including things like
seeing, hearing, walking, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks,
caring for yourself, learning, or working.
- Can you perform the essential functions of your job, or the job that you’re
applying for, with or without accommodations? For this question, consider
the main functions of the job – those duties that make up the core
of the position. Are you 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, you may qualify for ADA protection.
Other ways to qualify for ADA coverage
The ADA is a very broad law that offers coverage under a wide range of
For example, the ADA sometimes offers protection for people who may have
suffered disabling conditions in the past. For example, a healthy person
with a history of cancer can’t be denied a promotion over fears
that he or she may someday relapse.
The ADA also protects people who may be “regarded as” disabled.
For example, it may be unlawful for a company to refuse to hire someone
because of a belief that the person may be suffering from a potentially
disabling condition, such as diabetes.
There’s also the association provision of the ADA, which offers protection
to people who are in caregiving roles to family members who are disabled.
Call us for a consultation now
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.