ADA Protections for Employment

If you have a disability and are qualified to do a job, the ADA likely protects you as an employee from job discrimination on the basis of your disability.
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If you have a disability, you must be qualified to perform the essential functions or duties of a job, with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to be protected from job discrimination by the ADA. The ADA is not affirmative action. Therefore, you must meet the employer’s requirements for the job such as education, employment experience, or skills.

The ADA covers all private employers with 15 or more employees. All state and local government employers, regardless of size, are covered.

You must meet the employer’s requirements for the job

For Employers

The ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability. Private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies, labor organizations, and labor-management committees are prohibited from discriminating against individuals because of their disability.

Title I of the ADA, the employment provisions of the law, applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. It is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

It is unlawful to discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities in all employment practices including, but not limited to:

  • Recruitment
  • Hiring
  • Promotion
  • Training
  • Leave
  • Benefits

The employee or applicant must satisfy your job requirements for educational background, employment experience, skills, or licenses and must be able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation. The ADA does NOT impose any affirmative action obligations on employers.

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that helps an employee with a disability apply for a job, perform the essential functions of the job, or enjoy the benefits of employment. The employee must request the accommodation.

View more on Reasonable Accommodation Information

Advocacy Strategies

  • Know your rights. Keep up to date on the ADA regulations pertaining to employment. Call the Rocky Mountain ADA Center for more information.
  • Title I regulations. Have a copy of the ADA Title I regulations on hand when requesting a reasonable accommodation.
  • Request in writing. Although it is not required, when possible, request reasonable accommodations in writing and be specific about how the accommodations will help you meet your essential job duties.
  • Disclosure is your prerogative unless you need a reasonable accommodation.
  • Be prepared with supporting medical documentation that indicates the need for reasonable accommodations when making a request to an employer.
  • Follow up with your employer about your positive or negative experiences receiving reasonable accommodations. Give your employer feedback on the effectiveness of the accommodations.
  • Denied request: If your request for reasonable accommodation is denied, call the ADA Center and we will discuss your situation with you and provide you with informal guidance on next steps.

The Rocky Mountain ADA Center is not an enforcement agency, nor does it provide advocacy services. The information and materials provided by the center are intended solely as informal guidance and are not a determination of your legal rights or responsibilities. All communication with the center is strictly confidential.

For possible additional resources, please see our resources page or contact the Rocky Mountain ADA Center through our Technical Assistance Form or call us directly at 800-949-4232.