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A brief overview of the American with Disabilities Act

Living with a disability can be tough. It can affect one's ability to conduct even the most basic daily activities. Yet, many disabled individuals are able to function in society, including playing a part in the workforce. Although these men and women are capable of performing a wide range of workplace duties, they are often unfairly discriminated against, which can serve as an emotional and financial blow. This is wholly unacceptable, which is why disabled individuals who believe they have been discriminated against should consider whether legal action is justified.

One way to do so is to obtain a basic understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This federal law makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against an individual in all aspects of employment simply because he or she has a disability. Those covered by the ADA, which are those with disabilities, must have a condition that substantially affects a mental or physical capability such that it impairs a major life activity, such as walking, thinking, seeing, hearing or breathing. With that in mind, a disabled individual must still be able to perform the job in question, whether with or without reasonable accommodation.

Under the ADA, employers are also required to make reasonable accommodations to those disabled individuals who request them. Such accommodations may include ramps, sign language interpreters, revised training materials to assist the visually impaired and even quieter workspaces.

Far too often, employers violate the ADA, which in turn has serious ramifications for disabled individuals who are simply looking to earn a wage and contribute to society through the workforce. When this happens, whether through discrimination, harassment or a failure to provide reasonable accommodations, a disabled individual should discuss the matter with an experienced employment law attorney. If successful on a legal claim, an individual may receive compensation, reinstatement to their position or equal consideration for a job position or promotion.

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