Americans with Disability Act As Amended

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is one of the most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation. With a significant impact on health benefits it affects both individuals and employers.

Did you know?

  • 1 in 4 of today’s 20 year-olds will become disabled before they retire 
  • Over 37 million Americans are classified as disabled which is about 12% of the total population
  • More than 50% of those disabled Americans are in their working years (age 18-64)
  • 8.8 million disabled wage earners (over 5% of U.S workers) were receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits at the end of 2012
  • In December of 2012, there were 2.5 million disabled workers in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s receiving SSDI benefits

All employee ADA claims filed with the Department of Civil Rights or EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) are assigned to an investigator. The complainant (employee) making the allegation is interviewed and if the employee proves to be “convincing” a notice is sent to the employer identifying the alleged civil rights workplace violation. Once received the employer responds to the complaint with a position statement explaining what they did (or did not do).

As an employer you are responsible for assuring all employees are treated equal and the work environment is free from harassment and discrimination (both of which can occur in several different ways). The obscurity, or lack of intent to discriminate is not an acceptable reason and the employer will most likely be help accountable for their actions and actions of their managers and supervisors.

Employers must ensure that their managers and supervisors know the appropriate steps to follow if an employee has a known or “perceived” ADA qualifying condition. Workplace accommodations and the fair and equal treatment of employees are key to being successful in ADA complaints filed by current or past employees. Employers are encouraged to provide training to make sure their managers and supervisors understand workplace ADA requirements – failure to take the necessary steps before a complaint is filed is a risk not worth taking.