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Understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act

As a business owner or manager, it is likely that you will encounter applicants and employees with disabilities. Whether a disability was present before interviewing or developed during employment, employers in Illinois and elsewhere need to understand what it means to employ an individual with disabilities. This could help avoid allegations of discrimination against those with disabilities.

The Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA was designed to prohibit discrimination against those living with disabilities in areas that include employment, transportation, communications, public accommodations and access to state and government programs. With regards to employment, employees and applicants are protected under Title I of the ADA.

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees and job applicants with regards to the hiring, firing, advancement, compensation and job training. Additionally, it is also unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee who filed an ADA discrimination charge. Finally, employers are responsible for providing reasonable accommodations for employees and applicants with disabilities. An accommodation is considered to be alterations to the work environment or assignments that make it possible for a person with disabilities perform their job without causing undue hardships to the employer.

Thus, whether an employee or applicant claims they were discriminated against based on a disability or claim that they were not accommodated for his or her disability, it is important that employees understand their rights and options. Taking steps to protect yourself is always vital; however, this is not always possible. Therefore, employers should be prepared to defend themselves in matters where discrimination is alleged. This could help resolve the situation or prevent the charges from moving forward.

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