What is disability discrimination?
The Americans with Disabilities Act, specifically Title I, prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in hiring, firing, compensation, advancement, or other terms of employment. An individual with a disability is anyone with a physical or mental impediment that substantially limits one or more of life’s major activities; has a record of such impairment; and is regarded as having such an impairment. A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is someone who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question. An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to the known disability a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business (undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an employer’s size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation). An employer is not required, however, to lower quality or production standards to make an accommodation; nor is an employer obligated to provide personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids. Employees engaged in drug or alcohol abuse are not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act.