Five Things to Know When Employing Someone with a Disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination against employees and job applicants in employment-related decisions, such and hiring, promotion, or termination. The ADA also prohibits disability harassment and requires reasonable accommodation.

    1. In order for the ADA to be applicable, an employer must have 15 or more employees on the payroll for 20 or more calendar workweeks in the current or preceding calendar year.
    2. The ADA applies to employees and job applicants who are qualified for the position held or desired. There is a two-step process to determine if the individual is qualified. The employer must consider whether the individual meets the job description requirements such as experience level and education, and if the individual can perform the job duties with or without reasonable accommodation.
    3. An employer can be held liable for discrimination if they fail to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s known disability or limitation. Some reasonable accommodations including: telecommuting, working from home, part time hours, job sharing, sick leave, flexible use of vacation time, additional unpaid or administrative leave for treatment or recovery, leaves of absence, use of occasional leave for appointments, or additional break time. According to theEqual Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “Reasonable accommodation also must be made to enable an individual with a disability to participate in the application process, and to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those available to other employees.”
    4. There are cases where accommodations are unreasonable. In order to prove an unreasonable accommodation, the employer must demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of business. Undue hardship is defined as significant difficulty or expense. For example, some factors to consider are: the nature and cost of the accommodation, the overall financial resources of the employer, the accommodation’s impact on facility’s operations, expenses, and resources, or the accommodation’s impact on the ability of other employees to perform their duties.
    5. Even if an accommodation imposes an undue hardship, an employer must consider every option to provide an accommodation before it can be considered undue hardship.

     
    It should be a top priority of an employer to ensure they are in compliance with all employment laws and policies. The burden is placed on the employer to be aware of ADA policies. It is imperative to consult with an attorney who specializes

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