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Photo of Michelle Cohen Levy

Understanding ADA rights and responsibilities

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | Workplace Discrimination |

It is no longer a secret that diversity and inclusion in the workplace benefit business operations. Yet, it isn’t always clear how to make diversity and inclusion a successful reality. For example, both workers and employers alike often have questions about their rights and responsibilities when it comes to accommodating the needs of workers with disabilities. 

Before the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990, American workers and businesses were compelled to navigate a patchwork of state protections concerning the matter of disability-related accommodations. Thankfully, once the ADA was implemented, the legal standards related to this issue became far clearer and more standardized. 

Employers’ responsibilities

Per the ADA, most employers are required to grant reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with disabilities unless granting a reasonable accommodation request would cause a business undue hardship. 

Additionally, employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers and applicants with disabilities in all aspects of employment. They are also prohibited from retaliating against workers for exercising their rights as detailed in the ADA. 

Workers’ rights

The rights of workers under the ADA are, essentially, the inverse of the employer responsibilities outlined above. Workers and applicants with disabilities are entitled to request reasonable accommodations and to have them granted unless honoring a specific request would cause an employer undue hardship. 

Additionally, Americans with disabilities are entitled to apply for work and to work free from discrimination based on their disabilities. They are also entitled to exercise their rights under the ADA without incurring retaliatory adverse action as a result of their choices. 

If all businesses and Americans with disabilities better understand the rights and responsibilities detailed in the ADA, American industry and the American workforce will benefit more fully from the significantly positive consequences associated with embracing genuine diversity and inclusion.