What Conditions Qualify as Disabilities?
The ADA protects an individual with any kind of mental or physical impairment that limits their ability to perform a major life activity. A major life activity includes every day, basic tasks such as hearing, seeing, walking, bending, or communicating. It also includes any major bodily functions.
This may be any of the following functions:
- Neurological or brain functions
- Respiratory functions
- Circulatory functions
- Digestive functions
- Bowel or bladder functions
- Immune system functions
- Normal cell growth
- Endocrine functions
- Reproductive functions
It is also illegal for an employer to discriminate against you based on any previous disability. For example, if an employee is in remission from cancer, they cannot not be discriminated against in any way.
In addition, it is also illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis that they believe them to have a disability, even if they don’t. If the employer incorrectly believes that someone possesses a disability, that person is protected as well.
What Is Considered a Violation of ADA?
Disability discrimination can appear in many different forms. People face discrimination for anything from paralysis to allergies. Others are discriminated against for intellectual disabilities or impairments. The ADA does not provide an inclusive list for all the disabilities that meet these requirements. Instead, it simply defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment.”
Further, the ADA defines a physical or mental impairment as any “physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems.” Though there is no formal list of the type of disabilities covered, there are some that one can easily consider a disability within the context of the law.
This may include any of the following:
- Intellectual disabilities
- Cerebral Palsy
- Mobility impairments that require use of a wheelchair
- Partially or completely missing limbs
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- HIV infection
Obvious discrimination against one or more of these disabilities directly violates the ADA.
What Is a Reasonable Accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment by an employer that allows a person with a disability to perform the essential functions of his or her job. This could entail changes to the application or hiring process, the work environment, or to how a job might be performed. These adjustments allow individuals with disabilities access to equal opportunities that enable them to find work and successfully perform tasks to the same extent as people without disabilities.
The ADA requires reasonable accommodations with respect to three aspects of employment:
- Application process
- Employers must ensure equal opportunity in the application process.
- Job performance
- Benefits and privileges of employment
- Employers must enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions of their job.
An employee with a disability must enjoy equal access to the benefits and privileges of employment.
As long as a person is qualified for a job, they are entitled to “reasonable” accommodations for their disabilities. An accommodation is “reasonable” if it does not create an undue hardship or direct threat.
Employers may make reasonable accommodations with the following actions:
- Allowing service animals
- Providing an aid or a service to increase access
- Modifying a restroom or the layout of a workspace
- Installing a ramp
- Allowing a flexible work schedule
- Changing job tasks
- Providing reserved parking spots
- Reassigning an employee to a vacant position
- Providing or adjusting equipment, software, or a product
- Allowing deaf employees to use videophones to facilitate communication.
- Providing screen reading or magnifying software
- Ensuring all computer software is accessible
Contact Disability Discrimination Lawyers Schall & Barasch LLC Today
If you believe you’ve been discriminated against on account of your disability, you need Schall & Barasch LLC on your side. Contact our firm today to see how we can help you in your case.