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Safeguarding the job rights of qualified disabled workers

Following is a scenario employed to highlight a labor-tied matter commanding broad significance in varied workplaces across the country.

To wit: “Bill” has a confirmed disability that materially limits his engagement with one or more life activities. Although that impairment is challenging, it hardly bars Bill from being a competent and even exemplary employee at the workplace.

Still, Bill’s prospective or actual employer has concerns. Can Bill’s disability be cited as lawful grounds for a denied hiring or terminated job position?

The ADA: a vital balancing law re workplace disability

The employment realm broadly features at its core a necessary reciprocity. That is, employers and employees alike have rights that must be acknowledged and legally respected. There is both a fundamental work-together yet give-and-take aspect inherent in American workplaces, and it broadly applies across many dimensions.

Including matters relevant to the above-cited topic of disability. That subject was comprehensively addressed by the U.S. Congress back in 1990 pursuant to passage of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The ADA – now coupled with additionally protective enactments authored by many states, including Missouri – provides for fair and nuanced treatment of disabled individuals in the employment realm. One in-depth legal overview of the ADA spotlights its coverage relevant to “the job application process, hiring, compensation, training, advancement, employment privileges, firing and other aspects of employment.”

Baseline takeaways from the ADA

The ADA is a long and detailed law, but its fundamental thrust can be easily sketched. Here are some key points:

  • Applicable to companies with at least 15 workers
  • Defines disability as either physical or mental impairment substantially limiting a major life activity (e.g., sight, hearing or movement)
  • Disability does not prevent an individual from being otherwise qualified
  • Employer must seek to reasonably accommodate a disabled worker
  • No legal blowback against an employer that will experience undue hardship while trying to make accommodations

An individual who believes that his or her rights under the ADA or Missouri Human Rights Act were violated can turn for candid guidance and informed representation to a proven employment law legal team.