Under the ADA, qualified individuals with disabilities must be given equal opportunity in all aspects of employment. The law prohibits employers with 15 or more employees, labor unions, and employment agencies from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. Prohibited discrimination includes failure to provide reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities when doing so would not pose undue hardship.
A qualified individual with a disability is one who can perform the essential functions of a job, with or without reasonable accommodation.
Disability is includes any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of an individual’s major life activities, such as caring for oneself, walking, talking, hearing, or seeing. Some common examples include visual, speech, and hearing disabilities; epilepsy; specific learning disabilities; cancer; serious mental illness; AIDS and HIV infection; alcoholism; and past drug addiction. Current illegal use of drugs, sexual behavior disorders, compulsive gambling, kleptomania, and pyromania are NOT covered.
Essential functions are the primary job duties that are fundamental, and not marginal to the job. The amount of time spent performing the function, the consequences of not requiring the function, and the work experiences of employees who hold the same or similar jobs determine what are considered essential functions.
Reasonable accommodation is defined as a change in the job application and selection process, a change in the work environment, or the manner in which the work is performed that enables a qualified person with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.
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