Understanding the ADA and how it applies to your office will help you and your organization.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is intended to enhance and protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in all life activities and to provide clear, consistent, enforceable standards for addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities.
A disability under the ADA is defined as a known physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of an individual’s major life activities. Individuals are also entitled to protection under the law if they have a record of such an impairment, are regarded as having such an impairment but who are not disabled, or have an association of an individual with a disability.
The Act is comprised of five separate titles which prohibit discrimination in employment, transportation, public accommodations, and telecommunications, as well as several other miscellaneous areas. Title I, employment, and Title II, public accommodations, have the greatest impact on employees and job applicants.
The employment title ensures that qualified individuals with disabilities, including both applicants and current employees, have available to them the same employment opportunities as people without disabilities. It includes, but is not limited to, the following areas:
- Hiring (application procedures, recruitment, etc.)
- Promotion and transfers
- Discharge (layoffs, terminations, rehires, etc.)
- All forms of compensation
- Job training
- Fringe benefits
- Job descriptions/classification
- All leaves of absence
- Other aspects of employment
When working with a quailed individual with a disability, employers are required to determine whether there are any reasonable accommodations that could be made which would allow the individual to compete on the same level as those without disabilities.
Having an understanding of the ADA requirements will enable you to properly implement those requirements into your organization.