The ADA and the rights of disabled employees

Wisconsin individuals who are disabled may wonder what rights they have under the Americans with Disabilities Act when they seek employment. This act provides protection to individuals who suffer from a substantial disability that significantly impairs their life.

An individual must be able to perform the job’s essential duties. However, if the job has non-essential duties that the disabled individual cannot do, the employer must make accommodations for that. There are a number of reasonable accommodations an employer might make for a disabled employee such as permitting a flexible schedule or making the workplace more accessible. Other accommodations might include changing training materials or procedures, restructuring the job or even assigning the employee to a different job.

Employers may ask employees or job candidates about their ability to perform the job, but they are not permitted to ask about medical conditions. If other employees in the same position are required to take medical exams, the disabled employee may be required to as well. An individual who feels they have been discriminated against in the workplace could contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Mediation might also be used to settle disputes with an employer.

For disabled individuals who are unable to resolve their issues with their employers, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. Furthermore, individuals who begin work when they are not disabled and then subsequently become disabled are also protected. With an individual for whom this is the case, the employer might refuse to make a reasonable accommodation or might switch the individual to a lower position at lower pay. If this occurs, legal action might result in compensation for the associated damages.


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