Workplace Accommodation Information

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a non-discrminiation law which protects qualified individuals with disabilities.  Title I of the the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, social activities, and other privileges of employment.

Hiring

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to all aspect of employment, including job advertisements, job applications, job interviews and post-offer medical examinations. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, social activities, and other privileges of employment. The law restricts questions that can be asked about an applicant's disability before a job offer is made.

Typically, an employer may ask about a disability only after making a job offer, and only if the same question is asked of all new hires. An employer may require a medical examination after making a job offer if the same medical examination is required of other applicants offered the same type of job.

Disability Disclosures

Deciding when and how much information to disclose regarding your disability to an employer is a personal decision that will likely vary based on your specific disability and what type of accommodations you need. An employer may know that an applicant has a disability because it is obvious or the applicant voluntarily reveals the existence of one. If an applicant or employee indicates that accommodation will be necessary in order to perform essential functions of the job, then the employer may ask what accommodation is needed. An applicant or employee with a disability must be able to perform all of the essential functions of the job, even with reasonable accommodations.

Essential Job Functions

Essential job functions are the fundamental duties of a position and should be included in the job description. All other duties are considered secondary, non-critical, marginal job functions, or non-essential job functions. Reasonable accommodations in employment are designed to provide equal access to essential job functions, not to marginal non-essential job functions.

To determine essential job functions, a job analysis should focus on the purpose of the position and the significance of the duties in achieving the purpose. Factors to be considered when determining if duties are essential include, but are not limited to:

  • Does the position exist to perform the function?
  • Are there a limited number of other employees available to perform the function? Or among whom the function can be distributed to?
  • Is the function highly specialized? Was the person hired in this position for their special expertise or ability to perform it?
  • Was the function included in the job advertisement or job description?
  • How much time is spent performing the function?
  • What are the consequences of not requiring the employee in this job to perform the function?

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