What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is a federal law that prevents all kinds of discrimination against people with disabilities. This law ensures the rights of qualified but disabled individuals to several private and public services such as employment, accommodation, transportation, and education. The nature of disability is decided on the basis of certain criteria. This law is applicable throughout the entire employment cycle, and can’t be violated by the employer.
What is a Disability According to the ADA?
According to ADA, “disability” is defined as a mental or physical impairment that can limit substantial aspects of a person’s life.
These activities can include but are not limited to:
“Substantial life activities” also include some critical bodily functions like:
The immune system
The bowel system
Who is a Qualified Individual Under ADA?
To fall under the protection of ADA, an employee must meet certain criteria. These criteria include the employer’s requirements and the ability to perform important job functions with or without considerable accommodation.
An employer’s requirements also include employment experience, education, skills, and licenses. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that an employer can’t refuse to recruit a person if he or she can’t perform non-essential tasks due to their disabilities.
What Employment Practices Are Covered Under ADA?
The ADA allows people with disabilities under the supervision of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the EEOC is responsible for finding and preventing all sorts of discrimination toward disabled employees.
In simple terms, if a person with disabilities can perform essential tasks of a job including or not including accommodation, then a recruiter can’t refuse to hire him or her because of their disability.
According to this act, a reasonable accommodation can be defined as a modification or adjustment a worker with disabilities needs to do the job properly. Accommodations can be simple or complex, depending on the nature of the disability. According to EEOC, accommodations include the following:
Purchasing or adjusting equipment
Modifying work routines
Changing tests, training equipment, or rules
Making existing facilities accessible for workers with disabilities
Giving readers or interpreters
Reassigning employees to a different position
However, it is not necessary to provide reasonable accommodation if the employer can prove that the accommodation would create an “undue hardship”.
The term undue hardship means that providing the accommodation would be expensive, extensive, or would practically disrupt the operation of the company.
Penalties for ADA Non-Compliance
If any organization or company fails to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it will have to face some specific penalties. Penalties for non-compliance with the ADA can result in injunctions or a large financial payout. If proven, ADA can also include punitive damages for non-compliance.