The Americans with Disabilities Act was established in 1990 in order to set regulations and provide protections for individuals with disabilities hoping to join the workforce. Prior to the ADA, disabled individuals had a significantly more difficult time finding and retaining employment, primarily because employers would often not hire disabled individuals when they could find a non-disabled worker to do the same job.
To this end, the Americans with Disabilities Act made it illegal for employers to discriminate against individuals based on their disability, including treating them differently or refusing to hire them. Additionally, in order to help disabled individuals retain employment, provisions were set that required employers to make reasonable accommodations so that disabled employees could perform the functions of their jobs regularly. This includes things like constructing ramps or adding parking spaces specifically for disabled individuals.
These aspects of the ADA are some of the more well-known parts of the Act, but there are many other protections that you may not be aware of. For instance, did you know that employers cannot ask you about your disability? An employer can certainly ask questions to ensure that you can perform the functions of a job, but specific issues about your disability are legally off-limits. Additionally, unless an employer requires a specific medical examination for all employees, the employer cannot require you to undergo any medical examination in relation to your disability.
In order to take full advantage of your rights, it is in your best interests to consult with an attorney if you believe that your rights as a disabled employee have been violated. This is especially true for workers in California, who have even more protections thanks to our state’s FEHA. You do not have to suffer unfair treatment because of a disability.