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

Overview

The Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA) prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability with regard to:

  • Job application procedures;
  • Hiring, advancement, or termination;
  • Employee compensation and job training; and
  • Other terms, conditions and privileges of employment.

Congress amended the ADA with the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (the ADAAA), which took effect January 1, 2009. Under the ADAAA, Congress has:

  • Encouraged employers to take a broader view when looking at whether an individual will be considered disabled under the law; and
  • Redirected employers to focus on whether they have complied with their accommodation obligations under the law.

Because more individuals qualify as disabled under the ADAAA, employers will be more heavily scrutinized for their efforts in the interactive process, providing accommodations and avoiding the perception of regarding employees as disabled. Many times supervisors are the individuals that employees go to with accommodation requests. Therefore, it is critical that supervisors know how to recognize and respond to an employee's request for accommodation.