The federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA") prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities regarding hiring, firing, promotion, demotion, compensation, job training and other terms and conditions of employment. The Act applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Similar state and local laws cover employers with fewer employees.
Under the ADA an individual with a disability is someone who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment; or (3) is regarded by the employer as having such an impairment. A qualified individual with a disability is someone who, with or without a reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job. An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation for the known disability of a qualified employee unless the employer can show that it would be an undue hardship on business operations to do so.
The ADA also prohibits employers from asking job applicants about the existence or nature of a disability and allows for medical examinations in only limited circumstances. In addition, the ADA makes it unlawful for an employer to harass an employee with a disability. Finally, the Act also prohibits retaliation against employees who complain about disability discrimination or refuse to participate in such discrimination.
Disability discrimination claims must first be filed as a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") before an employee may sue the employer in federal court. Merrick Law Firm LLC represents employees with disability claims before the EEOC and in federal court. If you believe your employer has discriminated against you, or failed to provide you with a reasonable accommodation, because you have a disability or are regarded as having one, call us at 312.269.0200 or contact us online to discuss your rights.