How to Determine if an Employee Is Disabled

Author: Meryl Gutterman, formerly of Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, PC

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits a private employer from discriminating against an individual with a disability with respect to job application procedures, hiring, advancement, termination, compensation, job training, and other 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 (absent an undue hardship).

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.