Persons with disabilities are capable of first-rate success when supported in the right job. Discrimination against employees with disabilities not only undermines the chance for success, but is also illegal.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is the federal law that protects employees who work for employers with 15 or more employees. New Hampshire’s Anti-Discrimination law, RSA 354-A, mirrors the federal law but protects employees who work for employers with six or more employees.
We'll take you through some of the important information both employers and employees should know about these laws.
Who Is Protected From Discrimination?
To be considered disabled under these laws, you must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; have a record of such an impairment; or be regarded as having such an impairment.
A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question.
What Is "Reasonable Accommodation?"
Reasonable accommodations are adjustments or modifications provided by an employer to enable people with disabilities to enjoy equal employment opportunities.
They may include, but are not limited to:
- Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
- Job restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position.
- Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies, and providing qualified readers or interpreters.
What Is, and Isn't, Required of Employers?
An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an "undue hardship" on the operation of the employer's business.
Employers generally do not have to provide a reasonable accommodation unless an individual with a disability has asked for one. Once a reasonable accommodation is requested, the employer and the individual should discuss the individual's needs and identify the appropriate reasonable accommodation.
It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on disability or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under the ADA or RSA 354-A.
Get Help With Handling Employment Discrimination
Laws covering employees with disabilities are difficult to navigate. You should consult with experienced legal counsel if:
- You believe you're experiencing discrimination due to your disability.
- You believe you need assistance regarding reasonable accommodation of a disability.
- You believe you're experiencing retaliation for opposing discriminatory practices.
- You believe you're experiencing retaliation for participating or testifying in a matter involving the ADA or 354-A.