BackgroundThe Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990. It prevents private employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, and state and local governments from discriminating against applicants or employees with disabilities that are qualified to perform a job.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states that a person with a "disability" is one who: A lifelong impairment may not be constant. For example, epilepsy is episodic and does not constantly affect a person's ability to do a job. Under the revisions to the ADA in 2008, these impairments are covered and employers must do their best to accommodate the employee's needs.
Employer's ResponsibilitiesThe act was designed to give those with disabilities the opportunity to work with or without reasonable measures on the part of the employer. A reasonable accommodation would include restructuring small-scale facilities, providing equipment, or purchasing training materials. However, personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids are not required of an employer. The employer also may not be obligated to make accommodations at all if the action is too expensive relative to the company's size or contrary to the nature of their operations.
An employer cannot ask you if you have a disability, how severe it is, or the nature of it. It may only be mentioned if it is related to your ability to perform a specific job. However, if the employer requires a medical exam for you to be hired, but not for everyone else, it may be discrimination.
An overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act can be found here . The steps for filing a claim are also described at the EEOC website