Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA) protect
individuals with “disabilities” from
discrimination. Specifically these anti-discrimination laws prohibit discrimination against
“qualified individuals with a disability” in the terms and
conditions of employment. The ADA & ADAAA also prohibit disability
harassment and retaliation against you for complaining about disability
discrimination or for participating in someone else’s disability
If you are a qualified individual with a disability, these laws protect
you in several ways. First, your employer is required to make an effort
to reasonably accommodate your disability. If, despite your disability,
you are able to do your job, either with no accommodation at all, or with
a reasonable accommodation, your employer must accommodate you.
An accommodation can be something as simple as changing your starting time
a few minutes, giving you a telephone amplifier if you’re hard of
hearing, or changing your workspace if it exacerbates your medical condition.
If your employer refuses to accommodate you, in most cases you can file
a disability discrimination charge. Your employer, however, is not required
to accommodate you if your requested accommodation would be too expensive
or burdensome, or if your medical condition poses a serious risk of harm
to you or someone else in your workplace.
If you have questions about discrimination or believe that you may have
been discriminated against because of a disability, it’s a good
idea to consult with a Georgia disability discrimination lawyer right
away. An Atlanta ADA lawyer can advise you of your rights and help you
determine your next steps.
A recent case looked at the relationship between the reasonable accommodation
and a worker’s “essential job function.” In
Feist v. Louisiana, the 5th Circuit Court (which includes Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas)
evaluated whether a worker had to prove that her request for a parking
spot as an accommodation for a knee injury was tied to her ability to
perform her job.
After determining that the parking spot request was reasonable, the court
stated “accommodations may include those that make the workplace
more accessible without necessarily enhancing an essential job function.”
Specifically, the regulations state that a reasonable accommodation may
include “modifications or adjustments to the work environment”
that enable a qualified worker “to perform the essential functions”
of a particular position as well as those that enable the worker “to
enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment” as enjoyed by
similarly situated co-workers.
As a result, the employee didn’t have to show that the closer parking
space was essential to her ability to perform her job, just that it enabled
her to perform her job in an equal manner as her co-workers.
For more information about disability discrimination or if you believe
that you have suffered any form of work place discrimination, please
contact the experienced Georgia discrimination lawyers at Buckley Beal LLP for an immediate consultation.