The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals based on their physical or mental disabilities. The determination of what constitutes a physical or mental disability is made on a case by case basis, but the governing standard is any impairment that substantially limits a major life activity such as such as hearing, seeing, speaking, thinking, walking, breathing, or performing manual tasks. A Monmouth County business lawyer can help you comply with ADA requirements.
Some of the more common categories the law covers include:
- Serious illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV
- Short-term physical impairments like a broken leg or ankle
- Long-term conditions that affect mobility like the use of a wheelchair or other mobility device
- Mental and emotional disabilities such as anxiety, eating disorders or depression
The ADA requires business owners to refrain from discriminating against people with these impairments in all employment matters including, but not limited to, job application procedures, hiring and termination, promotion and training, salary and benefits, and leave.
It applies to recruitment, advertising, tenure, layoff, leave, fringe benefits and all other employment-related activities. The ADA applies to any private business with more than 15 employees, and all labor unions and employment agencies. It is important for these businesses to make sure their HR departments and hiring practices are in line with these requirements.
In addition to the employment requirements, the ADA requires employers to supply “reasonable accommodations” to disabled applicants and employees. There is no master list of reasonable accommodations, but they generally include any change or adjustment to a job or work environment allows the disabled person to apply or perform the job functions. This can include physical changes to the workspace, like installing ramps or expanding the restroom stalls, the provision of sign language interpreters, or offering training materials in accessible formats like audio files or Braille, and the use of TTY telephones for the hearing impaired.
Failure to provide a reasonable accommodation can make employers liable and subject to employment litigation, although there is special consideration if the accommodations would cause the business undue hardship.
Contacting a Monmouth County business attorney can help make sure that your employment policies are in line with the ADA and applicable New Jersey laws as well as avoid employment lawsuits based on disability discrimination.