Handicapped Workers’ Rights Under Employment Discrimination Law – Know Your Rights izon.1888932-2946.ws

The Americans with Disabilities Act 1990, was enacted to prevent discrimination by employers against handicapped, or to use a new phrase, differently abled, persons. This enactment confers certain rights to the handicapped, whether it be hiring, wages, promotion, or layoffs. ((In addition, employers are encouraged to employ them, by giving them an incentive, or making it obligatory to hire a certain percentage of their workforce.)).

What are these rights, its scope, when it can invoked and what remedy is available?

First, note that this anti-discrimination legislation covers only those companies that employ 15 or more people. This includes State and Federal Offices, and employment agencies, and even the Labor Unions.

The Commission appointed under the Act, namely, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines an individual with disability as one who

- Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
- Has a record of such an impairment; or
- Is regarded as having such an impairment

It further records that the person should be able to perform the duties of a position with “reasonable” or without, accommodation provided by the employer. What is reasonable accommodation? Again, the EEOC comes to the rescue in defining this term. It includes making the existing work area or space “accessible and usable” for the disabled, restructuring the job, modifications in schedules, reassignment of the worker in question to another vacant position, modifying devices or acquiring equipment, devices, materials used for training, and providing interpreters or readers as may be found necessary.

It is also important to understand that this is not a unfettered right. In order not to create rights which would intrude into another’s rights employers are exempted if they can show cause that these rules would cause undue hardship, impose financial resource constraints, or would impair their physical space of operation, or cause reduction in productivity, or lower quality standards in making such accommodation.

Medical examinations, inquiries are prohibited from being imposed exclusively on the disabled persons. Employer are prevented from asking about the disability, its existence, severity, etc. However, they can and do have the right to ask about the ability to perform the functions required, and may have to take an exam, PROVIDED that other applicants, without apparent disability are also required to undertake the same process. In other words, what applies to normal workers would apply equally to the disabled as well.

The remedy for any breach of these rules and regulations under the law lie in a civil suit for damages or reinstatement. The onus of proof lies on the person bringing the suit; and the general rules for discovery of evidence as existing the the Civil Code would apply.

None of the laws provide shelter for those with alcoholism or use of illegal drugs. drug use or alcoholism. No protection is afforded to the disabled were the employer to ask for such tests, so long as the same tests are applied to those with normal abilities.

Please click on the following page: