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Know your rights

Posted: Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:29 am
by BPI Cyclist
It appears to me that many of our community are unaware of the ADA and that we have rights. The ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law in 1990 and amended in 2010. We enjoy many of the aspects of this law as applied to the built environment without realizing it, but one thing we, as a community, should be aware of is Title I, which applies to employment. Under the ADA, a disability is defined as the limitation of 1 or more of life's major functions, has a history of disability, or being regarded as someone with a disability. This is a civil rights law, so it will not entitle us to privileges, such as parking placards, but does prohibit discrimination based on disability. As it applies to Title I, a qualified individual with a disability cannot be discriminated against in any phase of employment, whether that is the interview process, post-interview/pre-employment, on the job, etc. We do have rights. If you ever feel like you were qualified for a job, but were denied the job because of your disability, that is illegal and should be reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Under Title I, we may not sue, however the EEOC will have the right to pursue legal action against an employer if they come to understand the complaint is legitimate. We do not have to just sit there and take it.

I know a couple things about how the law works, so please ask me if you have questions. An example is a concept called "reasonable accommodation" which requires an employer to accommodate an employee to accomplish their essential job functions. As many of us struggle with one of our arms/hands, if a job has essential functions that we can do, but included ancillary functions that require two hands, it might be a reasonable accommodation to reassign those ancillary functions to another employee. There's no real specifics to the law in this regard, however it does require that the employer attempt to accommodate the employee to the maximum extent feasible.

I hope this is informative and is helpful.