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ADA —25 years of protecting and preserving the rights of disabled workers

This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 being signed into law. Prior the enaction of the ADA, millions of disabled Americans regularly and without recourse suffered acts of blatant discrimination when attempting to both secure and keep a job.

Today, the roughly 20 percent of the U.S. adults who have a mental or physical disability are protected from suffering discrimination and harassment in the workplace. These protections extend to all employment practices including hiring, training, pay, benefits, promotion and termination.

The ADA's provisions extend not only to private employers, but also employment agencies, governmental agencies and labor organizations. In cases where an employee's disability inhibits his or her ability to perform or complete work-related tasks and duties in a traditional manner, an employer is required by law to provide the employee with a reasonable accommodation.

Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
• modification of work stations and equipment
• changes in work hours
• job reassignments
• adjustments in training procedures and other employment-related policies
• alterations and modifications to an employee's physical work environment

While some acts of disability discrimination in the workplace may be obvious and overt, others may be less obvious. For employees who know, believe or have questions about an employer's actions or failures to act, an attorney who handles employment law cases can assist.

Individuals who have been diagnosed with a physical or mental disability are often forced to overcome a tremendous amount of adversity in their personal and professional lives. The ADA provides disabled workers certain legal rights and protections and an attorney will advocate on a disabled worker's behalf to recover compensation including back wages.

Source: EEOC.gov, "The ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability," Aug. 5, 2015

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