Disability Discrimination Attorney Cleveland, Ohio
The rights of employees and job applicants who have disabilities are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, more commonly referred to as the ADA. Under the ADA, employers must treat workers and jobseekers the same as they would non-disabled individuals. Any type of discrimination or mistreatment related to a person’s disability could subject an employer to liability.
As ADA attorneys in Cleveland, Ohio, the lawyers with The Friedmann Firm welcome opportunities to fight for employees and job applicants when employers do not meet their legal obligations. We answer a few of the most frequently asked question about the ADA here. We can provide more detailed information and discuss possible claims if you schedule a free consultation. Call us at 440.703.8550 or connect with us through this online contact form to request an appointment.
What does the Americans with Disabilities Act require employers to do?
The ADA makes it illegal for companies and agencies to discriminate against people with disabilities when it comes to advertising open positions, conducting interviews, making hiring decisions, providing training, assigning tasks, granting raises and promotions, offering benefits and setting the terms and conditions of employment.
The ADA requires an employer to allow any person who is qualified to do a job to do that job even if the person requires one or more reasonable accommodations to complete assigned tasks, as long as that reasonable accommodation is not an undue burden. An undue burden is a legal term but it essentially means that it is not too time consuming or expensive for the employer to provide and that it doesn’t interfere with the employer’s ability to run its business.
What is a reasonable accommodation under the ADA?
Typical reasonable accommodations include allowing an employee to take additional breaks, giving a job applicant extra time to complete a screening test, changing the layout of a workstation, and redesigning tasks to limit the need for climbing stairs or walking long distances.
The ADA gives an employer some leeway in determining what constitutes a reasonable accommodation. For instance, employers are allowed to consider how much making an accommodation would cost and whether making an accommodation would result in other employees being treated unfairly.
Many ADA lawsuits boil down to the question of whether an employer was justified in refusing to make a requested accommodation. Consulting with a knowledgeable ADA attorney will help workers in Cleveland understand the criteria for designating an accommodation reasonable or unreasonable.
Does an employee or job applicant need to request a reasonable accommodation?
Yes. An employer has no legal obligation to offer an accommodation without being asked to do so. Once an employer becomes aware of a desired accommodation, it is allowed to negotiate the type of accommodation to offer. That is called the “interactive process.” An employer that refuses to engage in the interactive process can be sued.
How do I know if I am disabled enough to receive job protections under the ADA?
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.”
The ADA further requires that a person who requests an accommodation be actually qualified to do the job.
Can an employer demand medical proof for an employee’s disability?
Yes, but only under strict rules and never as a condition for offering a job or training opportunity. With regard to the hiring process, the ADA mandates the following:
- An employer cannot ask job applicants about the nature or severity of a disability.
- An employer cannot require a job applicant to submit to a medical examination before the employer extends a job offer.
- An employer can ask job applicants how they would complete tasks with or without accommodations and can even ask an employee with a disability to demonstrate how he or she might perform a task. This is to ensure employees can perform the essential functions of the position.
- An employer can rescind a job offer if a preemployment medical exam reveals a disability that cannot be reasonably accommodated or that might result in a safety risk, given the specific job duties.
- Any preemployment medical exam must be the same for all job candidates and must be aimed only at revealing whether a job candidate can perform assigned tasks.