How to Determine if an Employee Is Disabled
- Step One: Understand the ADA Definition of Disability
- Step Two: Evaluate Whether the Individual Has a Physical or Mental Impairment
- Step Three: Understand the Difference Between Characteristics and Impairments
- Step Four: Evaluate Whether the Impairment Substantially Limits a Major Life Activity
- Step Five: Look At Whether the Disability Limits a Major Life Activity
- Step Six: Remember to Consider State and Local Laws
- Step Seven: Determine Whether the Employee Is a Qualified Individual With a Disability
- Step Eight: Inquire as to Whether the Employee Has a Record of Impairment
- Step Nine: Consider Whether the Employer Incorrectly Regarded the Employee as Disabled
- Step Ten: Request Additional Medical Information Under Certain Circumstances to Help Determine if an Employee Is Disabled
- Step Eleven: Define Who Is Disabled Broadly
- Additional Resources
Author: Meryl Gutterman, Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, PC
The ADA prohibits discrimination against a qualified individual with a disability with respect to the terms, conditions and privileges of employment. Under the ADA, if the employer finds that an individual is disabled, but qualified to perform the essential functions of a job, the employer must provide the individual with a reasonable accommodation as provided for under the ADA.
The first step in determining whether the employer must comply with the ADA is to look at whether the individual meets the ADA's definition of disabled. The employer should take the steps set forth below to evaluate whether an individual is considered disabled under the law.