October is National Disability Employment Awareness month
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, so now is the perfect time to review your employment policies to ensure your employment practices are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 [ADA] makes it unlawful to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability. The ADA also outlaws discrimination against individuals with disabilities in state and local government services, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications.
As an employer, you have an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation to disabled employees, which are defined as any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
- Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices
- Job restructuring
- Part-time or modified work schedules
- Reassignment to a vacant position
- Adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies
- Making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities
An individual with a disability must be qualified to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. Factors to consider in determining if a function is essential include:
- Whether the reason the position exists is to perform that function
- The number of other employees available to perform the function or among whom the performance of the function can be distributed
- The degree of expertise or skill required to perform the function.
Employees can be covered by the ADA when they are “regarded as” having a disability if an employment action is made against them because of a perceived impairment, regardless if the impairment was perceived as substantial or minor. Examples of perceived impairments include scarring or disfigurement.
If you are looking for more information on The Americans with Disabilities Act or disability discrimination, www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/ada.cfm provides a full rundown on guidelines and regulations regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, including the information provided here.