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American’s With Disability Act (ADA)

The ADA protects qualified individuals with a disability against employment discrimination. A qualified individual with a disability is a person with a disability who with, or without, reasonable accommodations, can perform the essential functions of the job in question.

Disability is defined as: 1.) A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits 1 or more major life activities; 2.) A record of such impairment; or 3.) Being regarded as having such impairment.

Major Life Activities are defined as, but are not limited to: 1.) Caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, sitting, reaching, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, interacting with others, and working; and 2.) The operation of a major bodily function, including functions of the immune system, special sense organs and skin, normal cell growth, digestive, genitourinary, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, cardiovascular, endocrine, hemic, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, and reproductive functions. The operation of a major bodily function includes the operation of an individual organ within a body system.

The ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations so that an employee with disabilities can enjoy the “benefits and privileges of employment” equal to those enjoyed by similarly-situated employees without disabilities.  Reasonable accommodations at work may include, but are not limited to, unpaid leave, altering the employees’ work schedule, accommodations in the office/worksite, alternate work assigned or modified work assignment to name a few.  If an employee with a disability needs a reasonable accommodation in order to gain access to, and have an equal opportunity to participate in employment, then the employer must provide the accommodation unless it can show undue hardship.

*ADA Leave: * Permitting the use of accrued paid leave, or unpaid leave, is a form of reasonable accommodation when necessitated by an employee’s disability.  An employee with a disability may need leave for a number of reasons related to the disability, including, but not limited to:
o    obtaining medical treatment (e.g., surgery, psychotherapy, substance abuse treatment, or dialysis); rehabilitation services; or physical or occupational therapy;
o    recuperating from an illness or an episodic manifestation of the disability;
o    obtaining repairs on a wheelchair, accessible van, or prosthetic device;
o    avoiding temporary adverse conditions in the work environment (for example, an air-conditioning breakdown causing unusually warm         temperatures that could seriously harm an employee with multiple sclerosis);
o    training a service animal (e.g., a guide dog); or
o    receiving training in the use of braille or to learn sign language

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