American Disabilities Act

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In nineteen ninety Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act. This act was established in order to eliminate discrimination of people with disabilities and to break down barriers in society that limits the freedom a disabled person. According to Section 2 Subsection A part one, "some 43,000,000 Americans have one or more physical or mental disabilities, and this number is increasing as the population as a whole is growing older." As the number suggests there are a lot of people that would be classified as disabled making this act very important. This paper will look at the Americans with Disabilities Act as how it pertains to helping people with disabilities based on who is covered, what are their rights, and what legal actions they have if they believe they have been discriminated against.

The Americans with Disabilities Act has four main section each with its own rights for the individual and what is required of society to help to better their life. The first section is Title I this section is designed to set forth rules for the employer when making decisions to hire, fire, promote, interview, or any other terms and conditions of employment. The next issue covered in Title I is who or how a person is to be classified as disabled. The Americans with Disabilities act has set forth some standards that must be made in order to meet the requirements of being disabled. A disabled person is defined as one who, "(i) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (ii) has a record of such an impairment; or (iii) is regarded as having such an impairment." Examples of possible disabilities are "any physiological disorder, cosmetic disfigurements, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, skin… any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities." To better define what is meant by major life functions it includes any from seeing, hearing, walking, caring for oneself, performing a set task, basically things that one should be able to do if it where not for their disabilities. This act also covers people that are related too or associated with a person that has a disability from being discriminated against.

Now to how a person qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act and what their rights are. According to the ADA to be covered by the disabled person must have the qualifications or job requirements to perform the job. An employer has to be careful when going through a job interview or application because under the Americans with Disabilities Act they can not ask if the person is disabled. The only thing they can ask is if they can perform the job at hand. An employer can not ask the perspective employee to submit to a medical examination prior to making an offer. This is where it gets a little tricky because they only have to be able to do the essential job functions with or without reasonable accommodation. Essential job functions are those basic tasks that an employee must be able to do. Reasonable accommodation becomes a case by case issue. For example if we are talking about a small privately owned store what is reasonable in monetary amounts would be different then a multimillion-dollar corporation. Examples of reasonable accommodation would be job restructuring, modifying work schedules, providing readers, modifying or offering equipment to help. The idea is to try to alter the work environment to make it easier for the disabled person to perform the job asked of them. This law does not mean that a company must accommodate if that by doing so would cause undue hardship to the business. Undue hardship is defined as "an action requiring significant difficulty or expense." This is one exception to...
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