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The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law in 1990, and it prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, transportation, accommodation, communications and government activities. Essentially, a person is guaranteed equal employment rights no matter their physical or mental impairments, for the most part.
If you get hurt at work, worker’s compensation will handle it, so that a claim is not filed in court. Usually, an injury takes some time to heal before you can return to work and lead a normal life. When an injury becomes a disability, something that permanently impairs your ability to work at the same level of function before your injury, that’s when the ADA and worker’s comp would have to work side by side.
The definition for what exactly constitutes a disability, as well as the employer’s requirements for accommodating such employee’s, has been tweaked several times since the ADA’s enactment, most recently in August of this year. Generally, a disability is:
These major life activities include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, hearing, seeing, breathing, learning or speaking. In order for an employer to have to make special accommodations, it must be determined that one or more of these things is severely hindered by the disability.
When you are hurt at work, you are usually entitled to worker’s compensation. However, there are some things about the ADA and worker’s comp that is subjective. Employers are required to make a “reasonable accommodation” for their disabled employees in order to be ADA-compliant. These accommodations include anything from modifying work hours, reassigning them to a less physically demanding position or making the office/building itself more easily accessible.
These changes, whether temporary or permanent, must be made unless the company can show that they would impose an “undue hardship.” According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, undue hardship is:
If the employee will never be able to perform the functions of their job again, even with accommodation, the employer can terminate the employee. However, if you are injured at work and a compensation claim will be made in conjunction with ADA regulations, the employee must attempt to make accommodations for you. They must consider the ADA when you return to work, as even doing nothing may find them in violation of the law.
If you have been wrongfully terminated because of disability or need help acquiring certain benefits, contact an experienced legal team who can help protect your rights today.