Partners Human Resources and Payroll

Four Things You Need to Know About the ADA

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 and in effect since 1992, changed the face of hiring for employers and the workforce. This act requires covered entities (employers) to provide reasonable accommodations so those with disabilities can work. It also makes discrimination against employees with disabilities illegal. As an employer, you need to know a few things about the ADA.

 Do I Need to Comply?

The ADA sets guidelines for who must comply. If you have 15 or more employees, there is a good chance you must. This pertains to employment agencies and labor organizations as well as other industries.

Who is Protected?

The ADA protects those with a mental or physical disability. This does not include impairments that are not disorder-related, such as personality traits, a prison record, or lack of education. Furthermore, if a disorder, such as a contagious disease, is a threat to other employees or customers and this threat cannot be reduced or eliminated, the employer is not obligated to hire the individual.

What Does Reasonable Accommodation Mean?

While it may seem subjective, the main importance is that discrimination is not present and that the employer has attempted to make it possible for the person to do the necessary tasks for the position. It does not mean that you need to hire someone who is completely unqualified for the position or when safety could not be assured for the individual or for those around him or her. The act does not force employers to make accommodations that put undue hardships on a business.

What are Examples of Accommodations?

  • Constructing a wheelchair ramp or installing an elevator for access to work and lunchroom areas. Most commercial businesses are required to have ramp access already.
  • Assistance with completing initial application is a reasonable compliance if manual dexterity is an issue, even if such dexterity wouldn’t be necessary for job performance.
  • Moving employees from one position into a different position if an injury keeps them from doing their original work.
  • Offering a modified work schedule.

The ADA also requires businesses to make their facilities accessible for those with disabilities when public accommodation is common. This pertains to restaurants, shopping centers, hotels, theaters, banks, medical offices, supermarkets, and other such avenues.

Even if your business wasn’t built with such accommodations, remember that grandfathering-in doesn’t apply; it does not matter if your business was founded before the enactment of the ADA. You must still comply if you are a covered entity. The enforcement and remedies can be costly and include both punitive and compensatory damages, so take the time to fully understand the ADA and how it affects your business. For payroll services that will keep you in ADA compliance, call Partners Human Resources.

Posted on: February 13th, 2017

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