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Understanding disability laws and reasonable accommodations

All employees with disabilities are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA protects the rights of disabled people by making sure that they are not discriminated against and helping them feel empowered to live as normal a life as possible, and this includes participation in the workplace.

As an employee with a disability, it is important that you take the time to understand how the ADA might govern the rights that you have in the workplace and the ways that you are empowered to respond if you believe that an employer has treated you unfairly.

Understanding what reasonable accommodations are

As a disabled person in the workplace, you have the legal entitlement to reasonable accommodations, but many are confused as to what these actually are. Reasonable accommodations are small modifications to a job that work to equal the playing field for disabled workers. This could be the purchase of new equipment, for example a computer screen for those with poor sight or a chair that is ergonomically suited to the needs of the employee.

Being fired as a person with a disability

Disabled people are legally protected from being fired for a reason relating to their disability. However, it does not mean that they are protected from being fired altogether. Disabled people may be fired for poor performance; however, they cannot be legally fired for any discriminatory reasons.

If you are concerned about the way you have been treated in the workplace as a disabled person, it is a good idea to take the time to understand your rights and take action if you believe it to be necessary.

Source: Department of Labor, "Employers and the ADA: Myths and Facts," accessed June 14, 2018

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