A disability is defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) as a condition that significantly disrupts a "major life activity." This can include paralysis, blindness or deafness, among other things. The ADA is designed to assist those with disabilities and help them lead as normal a life as possible.
According to the ADA, it is illegal for employers to terminate employment because of a disability. An employer cannot refuse to promote or train you because you are disabled. If you believe the employer is discriminating against you on the basis of your condition and you assert your rights under the ADA, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against the you.
During a job interview, an employer cannot ask you directly about a disability. However, it is legal for the employer to ask what accommodations the employer must make for you to perform the duties required.
If you are related to a person with a disability, the ADA may apply to you. If you believe the employer is discriminating against you because of your association with a disabled person, you can invoke the ADA in your defense.
Under the ADA, an employer is required to make "reasonable accommodation" for you to carry out the duties the job requires. Reasonable accommodation is defined as changes to the job or to your work environment that allow you to perform to an equal standard of employees without disabilities. Reasonable accommodation must also be provided during the interview process. For example, a sign language interpreter should be provided for deaf applicants.
These accommodations can include alterations to your schedule, procurement of specialized equipment, providing disabled car parking spaces and changing the job's requirements.
However, if the employer can show that the accommodations would create an undue amount of expense for the employer, some of these accommodations can be omitted. It is illegal for an employer to deduct the cost of reasonable accommodation from your salary.
Claiming Under the ADA
If you believe the employer is discriminating against you, you may file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the discrimination incident. Some regions extend the period to 300 days.