June 12th, 2018
Nancy Van der Veer Holt at Ford Harrison LLP
This blog is an excerpt from our book An Employer's Guide to FMLA and ADA, authored by Nancy Van der Veer Holt at Ford Harrison LLP. For more state specific leave information, go to the Products tab above and subscribe to the Human Resources Manual for your state.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. It became effective July 26, 1992. It was most recently amended in 2008 with proposed regulations issued in September 2009 as to these amendments.
The ADA’s purpose was to address and prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in matters relating to employment, housing, public accommodations, education, transportation, communication, recreation, health services, voting, institutionalization, and access to public services. According to initial Congressional findings, approximately 43 million Americans are disabled, either physically or mentally. This number will increase as the population becomes older and as the ADA Amendments go into effect. For more information, see Chapter 15, The ADA Amendments Act of 2008.
The ADA consists of five titles or sections:
• Title I covers employment
• Title II deals with public services and transportation
• Title III relates to public accommodations
• Title IV relates to telecommunication
• Title V contains miscellaneous provisions, such as enforcement.
The chapters in this guide will focus on Titles I and V of the ADA.
Title I states that:
“No covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability of such individual in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.”
Thus, Title I prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability who can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation in all aspects of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, training, compensation, benefits, promotions, discipline, terminations and social activities. Employers are also required to reasonably accommodate persons with known disabilities unless the employer can show that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship (see page 176, Requirements for reasonable accommodation). Title I of the ADA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). From 1992 through the fiscal year 2010, over 319,000 ADA charges were received by the EEOC. The EEOC, as part of its enforcement efforts, investigates complaints filed under the ADA and may also file lawsuits against alleged violators.
In fiscal year 2010, the EEOC reported that 25,165 charges of disability discrimination were filed, an approximately 15% increase from the previous year. Employers paid $76.1 million in fiscal year 2010 to resolve disability discrimination charges before the EEOC.
Title V contains miscellaneous provisions. Some of these provisions, as they may relate to the employment setting, are as follows:
Discrimination under the ADA
Discrimination under the ADA may take various forms. According to the ADA, forms of employer discrimination include, but are not limited to, the following: