Facts ABOUT DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as
amended, prohibits employers from discriminating against
qualified individuals with a
individual must be able to perform the essential functions of the job in
question with or without a
The law also prohibits discrimination against a person who has a
relationship or is associated with a person who has a disability (such
as a spouse, child, parent or friend who has a disability).
A Qualified Individual With A Disability
A qualified individual with a disability is one who satisfies the
requisite skill, experience, education and other job-related
requirements of a position, and (1) has a physical or mental impairment
that substantially limits one or more
major life activities, (2) has a record or past history of such an
impairment (such as cancer that may be controlled or in remission), or
(3) is regarded as having
such an impairment.
This does not include persons currently engaging in any illegal activity
such as the illegal use of drugs, compulsive gamblers, kleptomaniacs or
A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to the job
application process or the work environment that will enable the
individual to be considered for a position, to perform the essential
functions of the job, and/or enjoy equal benefits and privileges of
employment as other employees.
Accommodations vary depending upon the needs of the individual and may
include, but are not limited to –
making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and
usable by persons with disabilities;
job restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassignment to a vacant
acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying
examinations, training materials, or policies, and providing qualified
readers or interpreters; however, an employer is not obligated to
provide personal items such as glasses or hearing aids.
An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation if it would
not cause an “undue hardship”
on the operation of the employer’s business.
An “undue hardship” is defined as an action requiring significant
difficulty or expense. The
following factors are considered in determining if an accommodation
would cause an employer “undue hardship”.
The nature and net cost of the accommodation.
The overall financial resources of the employer.
The overall size of the employment entity.
The type of operation (business) of the employment entity.
The impact of the accommodation on the operation, including the impact
on the job performance of other employees.
An employer is not required to lower quality or production standards to
provide a reasonable accommodation.
Substantially Limits A Major Life Activity
Generally, the term “substantially limits” mean the inability to perform
a major life activity that the average person in the general population
can perform. When active, an
impairment that is episodic or in remission can also substantially limit
a major life activity. Major
life activities means functions such as caring for oneself, performing
manual tasks, walking seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning,
In general terms, regarded as having a disability means being treated by
an employer as actually having a disability, i.e., the employer thinks
or believes an individual cannot perform the essential functions of a
given job because the employer has assumed that the person has a
The ADA was amended in 2008.
This amendment retains the ADA’s basic definition of “disability” as an
impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an
impairment. However, it
changes the way that these terms should be interpreted in several ways.
Most significantly, the amendment:
redefines the term “substantially limits”;
expands the definition of “major life activities”;
states that mitigating measures other than “ordinary eyeglasses or
contact lenses” shall not be considered in assessing whether an
individual has a disability;
clarifies that an impairment that is episodic or in remission is a
disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when
active. Additionally, the
amendment changes the definition of “regarded as” so that it no longer
requires a showing that the employer perceived the individual to be
substantially limited in a major life activity, and instead says that an
applicant or employee is “regarded as” disabled if he or she is subject
to an action prohibited by the ADA (e.g., failure to hire or
termination) based on an impairment that is not transitory (temporary)
and minor. Further, the
amendment provides that individuals covered only under the “regarded as”
prong are not entitled to a reasonable accommodation.
For additional information and for assistance with sorting out your
potential workplace issues, please contact –
The Office of Human Relations
400 S. Orange Ave., 2nd Floor
Orlando, FL 32801
407.246.2122 (Main), 407.246.2308 (Fax)
The staff is very knowledgeable in
dealing with these matters and they provide quality customer service for