Module 8 - Assistive Technology in Work Settings (P.2 of 6)

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Facts about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. The ADA has four main titles: Title I (employment), Title II (state and local government agencies and public transportation), Title III (public accommodations), and Title IV (telecommunications). The following are some important facts from Title I (employment) of the ADA as well as from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1997).

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.

  • An individual with a disability is a person who has a record of or is regarded as having a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.

  • A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodations, can perform the essential functions of the job.

  • An employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. Such accommodations may include, but are not limited to making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible, job restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials or policies, and providing qualified readers or interpreters.

  • An employer is not required to lower quality or production standards to make an accommodation, nor is an employer obligated to provide personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids.

  • Employers cannot ask medical or disability-related questions on a job application/interview (U.S. Department of Labor, 2003). The exception is that a government agency can ask an applicant to voluntarily disclose a disability for affirmative action purposes (U.S. Department of Labor, 2003).

  • Disclosure of disability is critical IF accommodations, such as access to the building, are necessary to do the job (U.S. Department of Labor, 2003).

  • There are tax deductions available for employers of persons with disabilities. For more information see: .

These requirements apply to all employers with 15 or more employees and are intended to protect people with disabilities from potential discrimination by employers and provide them with work opportunities when qualified. These laws do not require employers to hire people with disabilities, nor do they require employers to change the nature of their work to accommodate people with disabilities.


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