The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in order to protect people with mental or physical handicaps. Under the ADA, employers cannot legally discriminate against someone because they have a disability. It also compels public transportation, telecommunications and government buildings to make their services accessible to those who may have trouble walking, hearing, seeing or are disabled in some other way.
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.
Wisconsin employers are prohibited by state and federal law from discriminating against employees and prospective employees based on disability. Disability discrimination is covered by the Rehabilitation Act or the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act, as well as by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Fair Employment Law in Wisconsin prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee due to his or her disability. This law applies to almost all public and private companies regardless of how many employees it has. Furthermore, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act provides protection from disability discrimination to employees working for companies with more than 15 employees.
Wisconsin employers must abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This federal law states that reasonable accommodations must be made for employees or applicants who suffer from a disability. An employer may be exempt from this requirement if it would create an undue hardship for the company. Reasonable accommodations are defined as modifications to the workplace that enable an employee to do the job to the best of his or her abilities.
Both Wisconsin employees as well as those persons seeking a job in the state may be interested in the requirements placed on employers in order to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law uses the term 'reasonable accommodation" when describing what an employer must do in order to facilitate someone with needs either applying for or performing a job.
Federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on a disability of an employee or job applicant. Disability discrimination is governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the protections offered by the act, employers may not treat a person less favorably because of a belief that he or she has a disability or a history of disability. Discrimination is prohibited with regard to pay rates, job assignments, hiring and firing decisions, promotions, layoffs, fringe benefits and other employment related matters.
On Aug. 20, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against a Wisconsin company for how it handled its company wellness program. The lawsuit alleges that a woman who was employed by Orion Energy Systems, Inc., was retaliated against and then fired for not participating in the program. According to the EEOC, the company's policy regarding the wellness program was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is meant to afford individuals in Wisconsin who are disabled with protection from discrimination in the workplace. Interestingly, the protections offered by the act are not only extended to those who suffer from disabilities. Those who have relationships with a person, such as a worker with a disabled spouse, might also be covered by the act.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to make accommodations, if requested, for workers who suffer from mental or physical disabilities. In situations that involve a disability, the employer and worker generally work out a reasonable accommodation that allows the employee to perform his or her job duties. In a recent case here in Wisconsin, a former Juneau County deputy agreed to a settlement with the county after he claimed that his workplace failed to make accommodations for his epilepsy.