Disability Discrimination
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DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION

Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) it is unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of a disability. This includes hiring, advancement, compensation, job training, or discharge of employees because of their disability, unless the disability is essential to the job. For example, a blind person would not be qualified to park cars.

Definition. Common examples of disabilities include confinement to a wheelchair, blindness, deafness, or a learning disability. The definition of "disability" specifically excludes limitations on major life activities caused by the employee's use of illegal drugs. In determining whether an employee is disabled, the employer should consider whether the use of corrective devices reduces or eliminates the limits on the employee's activities caused by the disability. An example of a corrective device which eliminates the disability is an employee who is hard of hearing but who has normal hearing when wearing a hearing aid; this employee is not considered disabled under the ADA.

Reasonable Accommodation. Assuming an employee is disabled under the ADA, employers must make reasonable accommodations for the employee's disability. Such accommodations often consist of physical changes to the workplace to aid the disabled employee, such as installing ramps for an employee in a wheelchair. Other accommodations may include restructuring the job or its duties to allow the disabled employee to perform the work, such as modifying the work schedule to accommodate the disability or providing the employee with a qualified reader or interpreter. Generally speaking, a reasonable accommodation allows disabled employees to perform their jobs in the same manner as a nondisabled employees.

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