Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, citizens who suffer from a disability cannot legally be denied the opportunity to work based on their disability as long as they are able to perform the functions of the job. This has helped many Americans fulfill their desires of becoming productive members of society and proving that simply having a disability does not make a person a drain on the economy.
Of course, if there is one thing that is clear when it comes to American society, it is that people’s opinions and discretions are extremely different, and what one person considers a disability may not be another person’s definition. Fortunately, the ADA makes very clear who is eligible for protection. According to the ADA, any physical or mental impairment can be regarded as a disability if that impairment causes a significant limit to major life activities. This can cover a broad variety of issues, including significant impairments to sight, hearing, mobility and even breathing.
It is important to remember that the ADA does not necessarily guarantee you your dream job. You must still be able to perform the functions of the job with the help of any reasonable accommodations from your employer. This means that if you could do a job perfectly if only there were ramps allowing you to access all locations of a store in your wheelchair, you cannot legally be denied that job simply because you are in a wheelchair. However, it is very unlikely that you could ever become an astronaut, simply because the physical fitness and mobility requirements for such work are often significant.
California has its own state laws that supplement the ADA in order to provide even more protections and benefits for disabled individuals. If you live in California, and you feel that you were denied a job opportunity based on your disability, consider meeting with an attorney to discuss your rights and your legal options moving forward. You could be entitled to compensation.