Disability Discrimination is Illegal. Protect Your Rights.

Disability Discrimination is Illegal. Protect Your Rights.

Long Island Disability Discrimination Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions about the ADA

Long Island disability discrimination attorneys understand how confusing anti-discrimination laws are to most people. At Leeds Brown, this understanding comes from decades of personal experience working to protect the rights of employment discrimination victims.

Our thorough knowledge of applicable laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), along with our familiarity with relevant administrative and court procedures, make us uniquely qualified to represent clients who suffer from Long Island disability discrimination, gender discrimination, and more. We take a hands-on approach to all of our cases and work collaboratively with our staff and clients to secure the best possible outcomes.

Although every case is different, there are some questions that clients frequently ask Long Island disability discrimination attorneys at Leeds Brown. Employees want to know what rights and responsibilities exist under the ADA, for them and their employers. Some workers want a better understanding of what the word disability means in the context of employment.

We will answer some of the most commonly asked questions below. If you have additional questions or think you may be the victim of disability discrimination under the ADA, please contact our office at 1-800-585-4658.

What is the ADA?

Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide “civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications.” President Bush signed it into law in 1990. The ADA did not become fully effective until 1992.

Do all employers have to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act?

No. The provisions of the ADA cover private employers with 15 or more employees, labor unions, state and local governments and employment agencies. New York State disability discrimination laws, however, apply to employers with fewer employees.

What does the ADA prevent employers from doing?

The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating in all areas of employment. The prohibition applies to initial job application policies and procedures, hiring, firing, compensating, training, promoting, and other terms and conditions of employment. It also prohibits employers from discriminating in areas of recruiting, advertising, granting tenure, laying-off employees, granting leave, providing fringe benefits, and all other employment-related activities.

Who does the ADA protect?

The ADA protects “qualified individuals with disabilities” and people with a known association or relationship with a person with disabilities.

Who is an “individual with a disability?”

An “individual with a disability” is defined by the ADA as someone with a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment.”

According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, the impairment must be major and must limit something such as hearing, breathing, seeing, learning, caring for oneself, walking, speaking, performing manual tasks or working.

For example, the ADA should protect a person who is blind, paralyzed or has a learning disability from employment discrimination. The law will likely not protect someone with a broken ankle, an infection or a minor, non-chronic illness.

A covered person with a “record of such an impairment” may include someone with a history of cancer which is in remission or someone with a history of mental illness.

An individual “regarded as having such an impairment” protects someone who is perceived or assumed to have a disability with substantial limitations but they do not. For example, this would protect a seriously disfigured person who has no actual disability, from discrimination.

What does the ADA mean by a “qualified individual?”

A qualified individual is someone who can perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation. This person must possess the skill, education, experience or other requirements of the position. If you possess these things, the employer must consider if you can perform the essential functions of the job with a reasonable accommodation.

How does the ADA define “reasonable accommodation?”

Reasonable accommodation refers to the modification of a job or work environment that enables an individual with a disability to perform essential job functions or allows a worker with a disability to have the same workplace rights and privileges as other employees.

What are some examples of reasonable accommodations?

  • Modifying work schedules
  • Modifying office equipment
  • Restructuring a job
  • Making facilities and office space accessible
  • Providing readers or interpreters
  • Relocating workspace
  • Reassigning employee

Does my employer have to accommodate me no matter what?

No. Your employer is only required to make accommodations if they are reasonable and will allow you to perform the essential job functions. An employer has no obligation to make an accommodation that would cause “undue hardship” on the business. An employer may not be required to make an accommodation that would require significant difficulty or expense. An employer may not be required to make any accommodation if it does not result in the ability to perform the job.

Do I have to tell my employer that I have a disability and need an accommodation?

Your employer is only required to make an accommodation for a known disability. Telling your employer about your disability and your need for an accommodation ensures they know. If an employer does not know, it does not have to do anything.

Usually, the employer and employee are expected to work together to find a reasonable accommodation that suits both parties. However, this is not always reality.

What can I do if I experience discrimination? What if my employer will not make a reasonable accommodation or no one will hire me because of my disability?

These last questions are the ones Long Island disability discrimination lawyers at Leeds Brown hear most frequently. You should consider speaking with an experienced Long Island Americans with Disabilities Act attorney.

We can help you negotiate with your employer to secure a reasonable accommodation and, if necessary, assist you to file a disability discrimination claim with the EEOC. Leeds Brown can guide you through the investigation process toward the positive outcome you deserve.

Whether you want to remain in your existing job, find a suitable alternative position or file a lawsuit to collect damages from the employer who acted in an unlawful manner, we have the experience and skill to get results.

Contact Us

Congress enacted the ADA for an important reason – to protect disabled Americans from employment discrimination. If you have been the victim of discrimination because of a disability, call Leeds Brown for a free case evaluation. Long Island disability discrimination attorneys are available to speak to you at 1-800-585-4658.

There are time limits for filing discrimination claims so call today to protect your rights. Someone is available to take your call 24/7.

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Shortly after beginning medical school, I experienced some academic difficulties. After seeing my physicians, I was diagnosed with ADHD. After I started receiving specific treatment for ADHD, I requested the school to accommodate me for the disability as recommended by my physician. One of the requests made was for extended time to take my exams. The extension of time was granted...

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Partner at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP
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