Under federal law, a “disability” is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals in employment as well as in public services, public accommodations and in public transportation.
The employment provisions of the ADA prohibit employers from discriminating against qualified employees with disabilities in all aspects of employment including application procedures, hiring, advancement, compensation, training and discharge.
Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for a qualified individual with a disability if requested. The employer must engage in an interactive process with the employee to help determine what reasonable accommodation is feasible for the employee.
Employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. Applicants may be asked about their ability to perform specific job functions. A job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical examination, but only if the examination is required for all entering employees in similar jobs. Medical examinations of employees must be job related and consistent with the employer’s business needs.
Every case that involves the ADA is fact specific. The ADA only protects certain individuals with certain medical conditions. State laws also protect individuals with disabilities, and in some states (including New Jersey), much more protection is available than provided by the ADA.
If you have been denied a reasonable accommodation, treated adversely because of your disability or because your employer believes you are disabled, you should consult an experienced employment attorney. By consulting an experienced employment attorney, you will learn whether you may be protected and what type of remedies are available.