Your Disability Employment Rights

Your Disability Employment Rights

As we work towards a more disability-inclusive workforce, our staff at employU actively advocates for our clients within the workplace. While we are always here to help, knowing your employment rights is a valuable tool to have. Under the American Disabilities Act (ADA), it is unlawful to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability. 

Job discrimination against people with disabilities is illegal if practiced by: 

  • private employers 
  • state and local governments 
  • employment agencies 
  • labor organizations 
  • labor-management committees 

It is also unlawful to discriminate in all employment practices including, 

  • recruitment 
  • firing 
  • hiring 
  • training 
  • job assignments 
  • promotions 
  • pay 
  • benefits 
  • lay off 
  • leave 


So, what does that mean? If you are qualified to perform the essential job duties with or without reasonable accommodations, the ADA protects you from job discrimination on the basis of your disability. The ADA also protects you if you have a history of a disability, or if an employer believes that you have a disability, even if you don’t. 

In order for protection under the ADA to apply you must 

  • Have a record of, or be regarded as having a substantial, as opposed to a minor, impairment.  
  • Be able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. An employer cannot refuse to hire you because your disability prevents you from performing duties that are not essential to the job. 


What Falls Under a Reasonable Accommodation? 

A reasonable accommodation is any adjustment to a job and/or work environment that allows a qualified applicant or employee to perform the essential functions of a job or job application process. An employer is required to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified applicant or employee with a disability unless the employer can show that the accommodation would be an undue hardship, meaning it would be significantly difficult or require significant expense.  

Reasonable accommodations may include, 

  • providing or modifying equipment or devices 
  • job restructuring 
  • part-time or modified work schedules 
  • reassignment to a vacant position 
  • adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies 
  • providing readers and interpreters 
  • making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities 


When Applying for a Job 

  • You are not required to disclose that you have a disability. An employer cannot ask if you have a disability or what the nature of your disability is. They can, however, ask if you are able to perform the job duties with or without reasonable accommodations.  
  • You are not required to take a medical examination before you are offered a job. However, an employer can condition the job offer on the results of a required medical examination if all entering employees for that job category have to take the examination.  An employer cannot refuse to hire you because of your disability if you can perform the essential functions of the job with an accommodation.

After being Hired 

  • You do not have to pay for your reasonable accommodations. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “The ADA requires that the employer provide the accommodation unless to do so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business. If the cost of providing the needed accommodation would be an undue hardship, the employee must be given the choice of providing the accommodation or paying for the portion of the accommodation that causes the undue hardship.” 
  • An employer cannot retaliate against you for advocating for yourself and asserting your rights under the ADA. 
  • Though an employer may require a medical exam as part of a job offer, once you have started working, your employer cannot require that you take a medical examination or ask questions about your disability unless it is related to your job. All results of any medical examinations must be kept confidential.  
  • An employer cannot lower your salary or pay you less than other employees in the same position to make up the cost of providing a reasonable accommodation. 
  • An employer must make all non-work areas used by employees (such as lounges, transportation, and cafeterias) accessible to people with disabilities. 


At employU, we are here to help you not only find a career path that is right for you, but also advocate on your behalf to make sure you are set up for success at any job. For more information on our employment services use the contact form below or visit 

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