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Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Facts About the ADA

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 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 conditions of employment.

For more information, visit the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Technical Assistance Program website at or call  800.514.0301 Voice or 800.514.0383 TTY.

By definition, an individual with a disability is a person who:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
  • Has a record of such an impairment; or
  • Is regarded as having such an impairment.

A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodations, can perform the essential functions of the job in question

Reasonable accommodation may include, but are not limited to:

  • Making existing facilities used by employees accessible to persons with disabilities;
  • Restructuring job tasks, modifying work schedules, reassigning an employee with a disability to a vacant position; and
  • Purchasing or modifying equipment or devices, modifying examinations, training materials or policies and providing qualified readers or interpreters.

Employers are required to make accommodations for known disabilities of qualified applicants or employees if it would not impose and "undue hardship" on the operation of the employer's business. Undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when the employers' size, financial resources and the nature and structure of the business are considered.

Employers are not required to lower quality or production standards to make accommodations. They are not obligated provide personal use items such as hearing aids or glasses.

Pre-Employment Questions and Medical Examinations

Employers cannot ask job applicants about the existence, nature or severity of disabilities. However, they can ask about applicants' ability to perform specific job functions. Medical examinations may be a condition of employment, but only if the examinations are required for all new employees in similar jobs. Medical examinations must be job-related and consistent with employers' business needs.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Employees and applicants currently using illegal drugs are not covered by the ADA. Test for illegal drugs are not subject to ADA restrictions on medical examinations.

Enforcement of the ADA

The U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the provisions of Title I of the ADA.

Filing Employment Discrimination Charges

Charges of employment discrimination based on disability may be filed at any U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission field office. Offices are listed under U. S. Government in telephone directories. For information on EEOC-enforced laws, call 800.669.4000 toll free or 800.669.6820 TTY/TDD toll free.

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