The Business Of Disability Law


Myths and Reality about Employers and the ADA

By removing obstacles to full involvement in many facets of living and working in America, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a historic federal statute that defends the rights of individuals with disabilities. The ADA specifically forbids covered employers from discriminating against individuals with disabilities in any employment-related activities, including hiring, promotion, pay, and benefits. Occasionally outside counsel must be brought in to resolve these issues.

The ADA is based on the American ideal that all citizens will have equal access to opportunities

Businesses gain a competitive edge by including persons with disabilities in their hiring, retention, advancement, and provision of an accessible environment. The research and facts that disprove some of the widespread myths about how the ADA affects employers are provided below.

Myth: Employers must recruit unqualified people with impairments because of the ADA

Factual statement: The ADA does not apply to job applicants who lack the necessary qualifications. A person with a disability must be qualified under the ADA, which implies that they must meet all work standards and be able to carry out the position’s essential duties with or without appropriate accommodations.

Myth: The ADA mandates the employer to hire the applicant with a disability when there are multiple qualified applicants for a position

Fact: As long as the choice is not based on a disability, an employer is always allowed to choose the applicant of their choosing. If two candidates apply for a data entry job where accuracy and speed are necessary, the employer may choose to choose the candidate with the highest accuracy and speed since that candidate is the most qualified.

Myth: those with disabilities are given a leg up on those without disabilities under the ADA

Factual statement: People with disabilities are not given hiring preference under the ADA.

Myth: Employers are required by the ADA to provide special considerations, or accommodations, for people with disabilities

Factual statement: Reasonable accommodations are meant to guarantee that qualified people with disabilities have job rights that are equal to — not superior to — those of people without disabilities. A reasonable accommodation is a change made to a position, workplace, or the way work is carried out that enables a person with a disability to apply for a position, carry out the essential duties of the position, and have equal access to benefits offered to other workers.

Myth: It is expensive to make accommodations for people with disabilities

Factual statement: The majority of employees with disabilities do not require modifications to perform their jobs, and for those who do, the price is typically low. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy’s Job Accommodation Network (JAN) estimates that 58% of accommodations are free to provide, while the remainder typically cost only $500. Additionally, tax incentives are available to companies to assist in defraying the expenses of modifications and adjustments needed to make their workplaces accessible to people with disabilities.

Myth: The ADA makes it more expensive for small businesses to provide accommodations for people with disabilities

Factual statement: The ADA’s employment standards do not apply to companies with less than 15 employees. Furthermore, a covered employer is not required to make a reasonable adjustment that would be “undue hardship.” When taken into account in relation to elements like an organization’s size, financial resources, and the type and structure of its operations, the term “undue hardship” refers to an action that would require a great deal of trouble or expense.

Myth: The courts are overrun by ADA lawsuits

Fact: Informal negotiation or mediation is used to settle most ADA employment-related complaints. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which enforces the ADA’s employment provisions, thoroughly examines each case’s merits and provides a wide range of non-litigation resolution options to address any possible issues. In comparison to the millions of companies in the United States, the number of ADA employment-related actions, whether brought by private parties or the EEOC, is quite small.

Myth: People with nonspecific complaints or diagnoses routinely abuse the ADA

Fact: If a person files a complaint under the ADA alleging discrimination, a refusal to provide an accommodation, or harassment but does not have a medical condition that falls under the definition of a disability, the complaint will be dismissed. While complaints made by people with fictitious or trivial conditions may receive a lot of media coverage, the truth is that these complaints are typically ignored.

Myth: Employees who are troublemakers or have challenging or nasty dispositions are protected by the ADA

Factual statement: Unprofessional behavior by itself does not qualify as a disability, and having a disability does not exempt an employee from performing crucial work duties and adhering to the same conduct standards expected of all employees. The courts have often held that “common sense” behavior expectations, such as getting along with coworkers and paying attention to superiors, are valid employment requirements that employers can impose uniformly on all workers.

Myth: The ADA prohibits employers from letting an employee go if they have a handicap

Fact: There are three circumstances in which employers may terminate employees with disabilities:

The employee fails to achieve the legitimate criteria for the job, such as performance or production standards, with or without a reasonable accommodation, or The termination is unrelated to the disability

The employee directly endangers workplace health or safety because of their impairment.