ADA Title I - Employment

Posted by Reeve Foundation Staff in Daily Dose on July 14, 2016 # Advocacy and Policy

On July 26, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law. At that signing, President Bush called the nation to “let the shameful walls of exclusion come tumbling down.” This month we’ll be sharing a posting about the titles of the ADA, what they mean, and how we must continue to fight to protect the ADA.

Title I - Employment

Title I of the ADA 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 employer is required to make accommodations to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it does not impose an "undue hardship" on the operation of the employer's business. Undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an employer's size, financial resources and the nature and structure of its operation.

However, 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 may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature or severity of a disability, and applicants may be asked about their ability to perform specific job functions. A job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical examination, but only if the examination is required for all entering employees in similar jobs. Medical examinations of employees must be job related and consistent with the employer's business needs.

Employees and applicants currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs are not covered by the ADA. Tests for illegal drugs are not subject to the ADA's restrictions on medical examinations, and employers may hold illegal drug users and alcoholics to the same performance standards as other employees.

Coming next: Title II – State and Local Governments