Workplace Rights

Weekly (10/28/19)

Topic of the Week  Disability Discrimination

  • Who is considered disabled under the law?
  • Can I be asked about my disability in a job interview?
  • What if my employer does not know I amdisabled? Am I protected?
Who is considered disabled under the law?

According to the ADA Amendments Act, the term "disability" means, with respect to an individual, one who:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such an individual;
  • A record of such an impairment;
  • Being regarded as having such an impairment

The ADA Amendments Act changes the way these criteria should be interpreted.

Can I be asked about my disability in a job interview?

If you are applying for a job, an employer cannot ask you if you are disabled or ask about the nature or severity of your disability. However, an employer can ask if you can perform the duties of the job with or without reasonable accommodation; an example of this is: this job requires you to stand outside for long hours, or, must be able to lift 20 pounds. An employer can also ask you to describe or to demonstrate how, with or without reasonable accommodation; you will perform the duties of the job.

Federal contractors and subcontractors who are covered by the affirmative action requirements of the Rehabilitation Act may invite individuals with disabilities to identify themselves on a job application form or in some other pre-employment inquiry. Employers requesting this information must follow certain legal requirements regarding the way this information is requested and used. The information must be maintained confidentially and separately from regular personnel records.

A pre-employment inquiry about a disability is also allowed if required by another Federal law or regulation such as those that cover disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era. Pre-employment inquiries about disabilities may be necessary under such laws to identify applicants or clients with disabilities in order to provide them with required special services.

What if my employer does not know I amdisabled? Am I protected?

An employer is required to accommodate only known disabilities. Therefore, it generally is your responsibility as a disabled employee to inform your employer that an accommodation is needed.

If you think you will need a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions, you should inform the employer that an accommodation will be needed, so that you are protected by the ADA if you are not accommodated.

Your employer is under an obligation to keep information about your disability that you disclose confidential. The ADA requires that the results of all medical examinations must be kept confidential and maintained in separate medical files.

Thought of the Week

"We focus on everyone's abilities, not their disabilities.They (workers with disabilities) bring so much to their place of business. They improve employee morale. They're loyal and they are committed. That's what most employers are looking for in today's time."

– Kristy Brinson; VR regional employment specialist

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

    from TED: The Economics Daily

    Employment-population ratio of people with a disability in 2018

    • 19.1% employment-population ratio for people with a disability
    • 16.4% employment-population ratio for women 16+with a disability
    • 22.3% employment-population ratio for men 16+ with a disability 



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