What is a Disability Under the ADA? | Bantle & Levy



What is a Disability Under the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Many adults in the United States live with a disability, and millions of these adults are a part of the workforce. In some cases, a person’s disability might not have a large impact on their ability to work, while others might require reasonable accommodations that allow them to work. Additionally, some employees with disabilities may be treated unfavorably in the workplace due to their disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 has been providing protection to many employees with disabilities for over three decades. This civil rights law makes it illegal to discriminate against employees with disabilities and helps provide equal employment opportunities to people with disabilities.

However, many employees may be unfamiliar with the ADA and unsure of what disabilities are covered by it. Learn more about what may be considered a disability under the ADA.

What Disabilities are Protected By the ADA?

Many disabilities are covered by the ADA. However, the ADA does not provide a detailed list of every condition that it covers, which can make it difficult to know whether or not you’re protected by the ADA. Under the ADA, an individual with a disability is someone 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.” Because of this, an employee can be considered an individual with a disability under the ADA if they are perceived as having a disability, even if they do not. If a temporary impairment or one that is episodic or in remission substantially limits one or more major life activities, it can still be covered by the ADA.

The ADA also only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, but employees who aren’t covered by the ADA may still be protected by state and local laws.

Substantially Limiting Impairments

For an impairment to be considered a disability, it substantially limits one or more major life activities. This means that not every impairment is covered by the ADA. A few examples of major life activities include seeing, hearing, walking, standing, reading, communicating, and concentrating. Major life activities can also include the operation of major bodily functions, such as the respiratory system, digestive system, bowels, bladder, and circulatory system.

What is a Reasonable Accommodation for a Disability Under the ADA?

Employees who have a disability covered by the ADA are entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace. This provides them with the equal opportunity to be hired for a job and perform the essential functions of that job successfully. If the accommodation would cause the employer undue hardship, they aren’t required to provide it. Reasonable accommodations may vary depending on the situation. A few examples of reasonable accommodations are allowing a flexible schedule, providing assistive technology, changing job tasks, and making work areas more accessible.

However, if an employee is perceived as having a disability they do not actually have, they aren’t entitled to a reasonable accommodation.

Contact Disability Discrimination Lawyers Who Can Help

In addition to the ADA, state and local laws also protect employees with disabilities from discrimination. If you have been discriminated against for your disability or denied a reasonable accommodation, these actions and behaviors need to be stopped. At Bantle & Levy, we’re committed to helping employees get justice after facing discrimination.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you through this difficult time.


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