5 ADA Facts You Should Know
More than 20 years have passed since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Small businesses are still unsure of what must be done to comply and what is not needed of them. Here are five essential legal facts to help you know what is ADA!
1. Very tiny businesses are exempt from ADA regulations
When it comes to hiring job candidates, promotions, and benefits, you cannot discriminate against people with disabilities if your company has 15 or more employees. ADA regulations do not apply to smaller businesses.
You are not allowed to inquire about a person’s disability during a job interview if you are covered by the ADA. Additionally, if providing a reasonable accommodation does not place a “undue burden” on you, you are required to do so (explained later).
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has the authority to enforce the legislation if you are required to comply with the ADA but do not.
2. Making concessions needn’t put you out of business.
Whether they work full- or part-time, you must provide a disabled employee with reasonable accommodations. Accommodations can be made to alter procedures or policies or to remove physical impediments (like inaccessible equipment) (such as when work is performed or when breaks are taken). Accommodation fees could be negligible or nonexistent. The EEOC uses the following example: When a cashier with lupus becomes fatigued, a stool is made available as a compromise.
If making adjustments will place a “undue hardship” on you, you are not required to do so. It can be expensive or just challenging to offer. There is no set monetary cap for this use. Depending on your circumstances.
Learn more about reasonable accommodations from the EEOC. Contact the Job Accommodation Network for assistance in providing accommodations (JAN).
3. Not all mental or physical disorders are impairments
Only someone with a disability is entitled to accommodations under the ADA. The ADA’s definition of disability is fairly broad, and changes to the legislation in 2008 made it even broader.
However, the ADA only provides protection for conditions that significantly limit a key life activity, such as walking, speaking, or bending. An employee who fractures her arm does not have a significant impairment in one or more main living activities, thus no special accommodations are needed (but you are not prohibited from providing accommodations for anyone, regardless of handicap).
4. You can be rewarded more than you give.
The ADA does not mandate that you employ a person with a disability. If there are two job applicants—one with a disability and one without—you can choose to hire the applicant with the higher level of qualification. Despite having a disability, you are not required to hire the applicant.
5. Smaller enterprises should make an effort to comply.
Although it is not required, it is nevertheless prudent to abide with the law. The cause? The prevalence of disabilities in the US is around 20%. You may be lacking important talent if you don’t hire from this group of candidates.
To sum up
Work with a skilled attorney if you have any questions about what to do to comply with the ADA. The expense of the lawyer can be less than the punishments you might incur if you miss something.