By Max Soifer
If you have a disability and are qualified to do a job, you cannot be denied your right to employment simply because of your disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ACA) ensures this, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) oversees the enforcement of this law. In order to be protected by the ADA, you must have a record of having (or be regarded as having) a substantial impairment that "significantly limits or restricts a major life activity." This can include vision, hearing, mobility, breathing, performing manual tasks, self-care, learning, and working, among other things. The ADA's scope is expansive in that the law covers the way that employers must treat potential employees during the hiring process, as well as the way that employers must treat employees on the job.
No one deserves to be discriminated against, and no one should expect to be subjected to discrimination. However, if you suspect that you have been subjected to employment discrimination based on a disability it is best to contact the EEOC promptly.
Typically, you can trust your gut instinct to identify when am employer or potential employer is behaving in a discriminatory manner. Additionally, things to look out for during the hiring process include questions about your disability (if you have not already disclosed your disability) and extensive questions regarding your ability to perform the job. Although this second practice is not illegal, they may be trying to "back you into a corner" by encouraging you to disclose information about your disability by asking instead about your abilities. Though this is not illegal, it is certainly discriminatory and the EEOC may be able to help you out if you run into this scenario.
Here is a list of questions that potential employers might ask, and that you should look out for:
It is illegal to ask these questions during the hiring process, and you should immediately contact the EEOC if you are asked one of these questions by a potential employer. If you have a disability, you are entitled to workplace accommodations provided by your employer. In order for your employer to be accountable for the accommodations that they are obligated to provide, you must notify them of your needs.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
P.O. Box 7033
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
(800) 669-4000 (Voice), (800) 669-6820 (TDD)
For more specific information about ADA requirements affecting public accommodations and State and local government services contact:
Department of Justice
Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act
Civil Rights Division
P.O. Box 66118
Washington, DC 20035-6118
(202) 514-0301 (Voice)
(202) 514-0381 (TDD)
(202) 514-0383 (TDD)
If you have any other questions, you can troubleshoot by going to the EEOC website at: https://www.eeoc.gov/facts/ada18.html
Good luck in your search for a job!
If you would like to learn more about your rights or believe that you have been discriminated against please visit the Civil Rights Justice Center located at 2150 N. 107th Street in Seattle Washington or visit our website at civilrightsjusticecenter.com