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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is there to protect those who qualify within its parameters from many different occurrences, including discrimination in the workplace. This means that when it comes to hiring, pay, promotion, firing, etc., an individual cannot be discriminated against by their employer because of their disability. Below I will go over more in depth what it looks like to be an employee that falls under the ADA, and what employers are expected to do.

According to the ADA, employees are covered that have a disclosed disability, have a history of impairment, and even when an employer unfairly discriminates an employee who they believe is disabled when in fact they are not. In that particular instance, the employee who has been wrongly identified by their employer is therefore protected by the ADA. This particular employee will have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities— which include walking, bending, communicating, as well as functions of the immune system, respiratory system, circulatory system, and more. However, the ADA will only protect qualified workers with disabilities which means that the person has to be able to perform the essential duties of their job description, with or without reasonable accommodations. The employer is required to provide said reasonable accommodations, but there are occasions when a company may suffer financial hardship in order to fulfill the cost of the accommodation. This is pretty rare as most accommodations cost under $500, according to the EEOC. Lastly, the ADA requires that employers follow strict confidentiality regulations. They cannot discuss with others that  an employee has a disability, their medical records, or even if they are receiving an accommodation. The only circumstances that allow the employer to disclose this information about their employee is for the purpose of communicating disability-related work restrictions or accommodations to other supervisors or managers, to first responders in the event of medical treatment or evacuation procedures, for insurance purposes, to government workers investigating the employer and their ADA compliance, and to state workers’ compensation agency employees as is required by law. 

If you’d like to learn more about how the ADA protects against discrimination in the workplace, check out this comprehensive article I found. As always, be sure to check out our informative Digital Tip on this topic, too. Until next time, I hope you all stay warm as the chill returns to the air. See you in November! 

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