Disability Discrimination / Accommodations

Prior to 1990, persons with disabilities had no legal recourse if they were denied a job or terminated because of their disability.  Finally, in 1990 the United States Congress took note of this unfairness, explaining that millions of disabled Americans had no legal recourse even though they “continually encounter various forms of discrimination, including outright intentional exclusion, . . . overprotective rules and policies, . . . exclusionary qualification standards and criteria, segregation, and relegation to lesser services, programs, activities benefits, jobs, or other opportunities.”    

As a result of these recognized problems, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) in order to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities.  In essence, the ADA was deigned to provide a legal avenue for persons with disabilities to bring a lawsuit if a potential employer refuses to hire the individual, or terminates him or her based on the disability.  In addition, the ADA requires employers to potentially provide accommodations to qualified persons with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the position.  

However, the ADA became one of the most difficult laws to interpret in the history of jurisprudence, and as a result in 2009 Congress passed a law that assisted in the interpretation process.  These problems were mostly due to the requirement that an individual must be considered both seriously disabled, and capable of performing all the essential functions of the job, with or without accommodations.  This means that the ADA did not protect persons that had certain short-term illnesses or minor physical or mental shortcomings. However, the ADA does protect persons with major disabilities that cannot, with reasonable accommodations, perform the important tasks of the particular job being sought. Thus, many persons are excluded from protection under the ADA.

If you have a dispute relating to this workplace issue and you believe the situation would best be resolved through mediatoion, please contact us by email. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you.

Other Areas of Specialized Experience, Education, and Certifications