The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

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Updated: 3/18/2003 2:37 pm
The Americans with Disabilities Act, also known as ADA (A-D-A), protects qualified individuals with disabilities against employment discrimination and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for them in the workplace. ADA coverage extends to all employers with 15 or more employees and is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Under ADA laws, discrimination is prohibited in all aspects of employment practices, including job application procedures, hiring, promotion, transfers, discharge, layoffs, training, compensation, and fringe benefits. Examples of prohibited behavior include classifying disabled job applicants or employees in such a way that their employment or promotional opportunities are different from those of able-bodied employees, using job placement tests that reflects the applicant's disability but don't measure job-related skills, and refusing to make a reasonable accommodation to assist a disabled applicant or employee, unless doing so would cause an undue hardship. The ADA does not take precedent over other federal, state, or local laws providing equal or greater protection to the disabled. Applicants or employees who feel that their rights under the ADA have been violated may file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days of the discriminatory incident. In states that have their own enforcement agencies, this statute of limitations is extended to 300 days. Employers that violate the ADA may be forced to reinstate or promote the disabled employee, provide back pay, and pay for litigation expenses such as attorney's fees. Compensatory punitive damages are also available under the ADA.

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