The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 signaled the beginning of a new era where public awareness and respect for people with disabilities was ushered in. Much progress has been made in Arizona workplaces due to the ADA’s core requirement that employers must make reasonable accommodations to enable peoples with disabilities to gain and maintain employment. But is as true in much of the law, how the precise wording of the statute is interpreted by the courts defines the bottom line result.
Initially, the ADA prohibits employers from engaging in discriminatory acts such as segregating workers, using discriminatory standards, or excluding qualified workers who have a disability. These are fairly straight-forward standards, and employer compliance is typically high. However, employment experts will explain it is when making reasonable accommodations for a disabled worker is balanced against an exception contained in the ADA that the issue becomes murky.
An employer may permissibly not make reasonable accommodations if doing so causes it to suffer undue hardship to its business. For purposes of the ADA, undue hardship means significant difficulty or expense, but those terms clearly can mean different things depending on the size of the business, type of business and the exact nature of the necessary accommodation. Other issues have arisen in various court cases over what precisely is the definition of a disability and which party is to determine what type of accommodation is required.
Even where well-intentioned individuals are involved, there can be reasonable differences over what is required by the law. Employment discrimination and equality in the workplace are important rights that can best be protected by an employment law attorney.