Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990.
To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability.
An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.
Major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
Title I requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from the full range of employment-related opportunities available to others.
For example, it prohibits discrimination in recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, social activities, and other privileges of employment. It restricts questions that can be asked about an applicant’s disability before a job offer is made, and it requires that employers make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, unless it results in undue hardship.
For employers, a well-written position description appropriately describes the position and sets out all its necessary requirements and important duties. This can clearly and unequivocally show what an employer considers to be the essential functions of the job. A qualified employee with a disability must be able to prove that he or she can perform the essential functions of a job, with or without reasonable accommodation.
The Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) also applies to the workplace in terms of disability discrimination.