Workplace Disabilities - Americans with Disabilities Act

Disability Discrimination

Failure to accommodate a disability may be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. ADA claims are very complex and require a detailed legal analysis complex. The first question is whether the employee has a "disability" as the term is defined under the law. A disability for the purposes of the ADA is a condition, which substantially impairs a major life activity.

A disability must affect a "major life activity" which is also defined under the law. Major life activities may include things like walking, seeing, or breathing. The next consideration is whether the disability substantially impairs that activity.

Being Perceived as Disabled

An exception to the requirement that an employee actually be disabled under the law may be where the employer acts with the belief or "perception" that the employee is disabled. But this does not mean that simply calling an employee disabled suffices. The employer must actually perceive that the employee has a condition, which substantially impairs a major life activity.

Requesting a Disability Accommodation

In order to claim the protections of the ADA, the employee must first approach the employer and explain how the disability impairs his work and engage in an interactive process to obtain an accommodation. If an Employee needs an accommodation based upon a disability, the employee should explain the situation to the employer and document that explanation.

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