5 fast facts about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
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5 fast facts about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

1) What is the ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful for employers with 15 or more employees to discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability.

The ADA, which is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), also outlaws discrimination against individuals with disabilities in state and local government offices, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunications.

2) Are all employers covered by ADA rules?

Employers with fewer than 15 employees are not covered by the ADA, but may be covered by similar antidiscrimination provisions under state and/or local law. Check with your state’s fair employment agency for more information.

3) When is an employee covered by the ADA?

To be protected under the ADA, an individual must have a record of, or be regarded as having a substantial impairment. A substantial impairment is one that significantly limits or restricts a major life activity.

If an employee or applicant is regarded as, and treated as if he or she had a disability, they are entitled to ADA protection for any discrimination that arises from that belief, even if it’s an inaccurate belief.

An individual with a disability also must be qualified to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation, to be protected by the ADA. The basic requirements in terms of education, experience or talent needed to do the job well do remain valid criteria for hiring, firing and promotion decisions, despite ADA status. .

 What kind of discrimination is illegal under the ADA?

The ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate in any employment practice, including:

  • Benefits
  • Firing
  • Hiring
  • Job assignments
  • Layoff
  • Leave
  • Pay
  • Promotion
  • Recruitment
  • Training

What does the ADA have to do with attendance tracking, scheduling or employee absenteeism?

The ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow persons with disabilities to perform their job. One of those accommodations directly impacts employee time scheduling and employee attendance.

According to the ADA, a reasonable accommodation for an ADA-eligible employee would include part-time or modified work schedules. For example, if an employee otherwise capable of performing as needed in given job needs slightly reduced or shifted hours to deal with his or her disability, you cannot discriminate against them because of those schedule or attendance issues.

As long as the work and productivity is up to the company standards, and the adjustment in time does not cause “undue hardship” to your business, you must not cite employee absenteeism or employee tardiness as a cause for dismissal, disciplinary action, denial of promotions or refusal to hire. You are not, however, required to lower quality or production standards to make a reasonable accommodation.

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