ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act ADA

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), effective July 26, 1992, prohibits private employers of 15 or more employees*, state and local governments, employment agencies, and labor unions from discriminating against qualified persons with disabilities, as well as people associated with a disabled personin job application procedures, hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

A disabled person is a person who:

  • Has a physique or mental impairment that significantly limits one or more major life activities;
  • Has a record of such impairment; Where
  • Is considered to have such an impairment.

Major life activities include tasks such as self-care, manual labor, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, talking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating , think, communicate, work and use major bodily functions.

A qualified employee or candidate with a disability is someone who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question.

Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

  • Make existing facilities used by employees easily accessible and usable by people with disabilities
  • Restructuring of position, modification of working hours, reassignment to a vacant position
  • Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices
  • Adjust or modify exams, training materials, or policies, and provide qualified readers or interpreters
  • Allow an employee to work remotely

An employer is required to accommodate an applicant’s or qualified employee’s known disability if it does not impose “undue hardship” on the operation of the employer’s business. employer.

Excessive difficulty is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense considering such factors as the nature and cost of accommodation, the size of the employer, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation.

An employer is not required to lower quality or production standards to make an accommodation, nor is an employer required to provide items for personal use such as eyeglasses or hearing aids.

If an employee who handles food has an infectious disease and reasonable accommodation cannot eliminate the risk of transmission, the employer may refuse to assign the person.

Also, the ADA does not prohibit a religious employer from giving preference to people of a particular religion.

The interactive process

Generally, an employer is not required to provide reasonable accommodation unless a person with a disability has requested it.

If an employer believes that a medical condition is causing a performance or conduct problem, the employer can ask the employee how to fix the problem and whether the employee needs a reasonable accommodation.

Once reasonable accommodation is requested, the employer and the individual should discuss the individual’s needs and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation. This is a legal obligation for both employer and employee, known as the “interactive process”.

Where more than one accommodation would work, the employer may choose the least expensive or easiest to provide.

Medical examinations, inquiries

Employers cannot ask applicants about the existence, nature or severity of a disability. However, applicants may be questioned on their ability to perform specific duties.

A job offer may be conditional on the results of a medical exambut only if the exam is mandatory for all new employees in similar positions.

Employee medical examinations should be job-related and consistent with the employer’s business needs.

Disclosures and medical records are confidential. However, medical information may be shared with supervisors regarding necessary accommodations, security personnel for emergency treatment, and government officials investigating ADA compliance.

Drug and alcohol abuse

Employees and applicants who currently engage in illegal drug use are not Qualified Persons under the ADA. However, people who are no longer using drugs are considered qualified people if they are participating in or have completed a supervised drug treatment program.

Illegal drug testing is not subject to ADA restrictions on medical examinations. However, drug and alcohol testing may be subject to additional state and federal restrictions.

Employers can require illegal drug users and alcoholics to meet the same performance standards as other employees.

EEOC app

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued regulations on July 26, 1991 to enforce the provisions of Title I of the ADA.

The provisions originally came into force on July 26, 1992, and covered employers with 25 or more employees.

On July 26, 1994, the threshold was lowered to include employers with 15 or more employees.

In addition, employers must publish in an accessible format the description of these provisions. Failure to do so results in a fine.

Further information and advice can be found at:


Source: US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, ADA Fact Sheet

*The Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act also protects against all forms of discrimination, including people with disabilities. It is important to note that from October 1, 2022, the CFEPA covers any employer with one or more employees.

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