Readers of this blog know that employees of a business or organization have certain protections. For example, they are protected from sexual harassment, retaliation, and various types of discrimination. Amongst those discriminations from which workers are protected is discrimination based on disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, provides these protections. Yet, there is a lot of misinformation out there about the ADA, and we wanted to address a few of the myths here to give Los Angelinos an idea of how the ADA can help them.
The first myth that is commonly believed is that the ADA requires an employer to hire unqualified individuals simply because they are disabled. This is false. The ADA only allows an individual to claim a disability, and therefore be protected from discrimination, if he or she is qualified for the job for which he or she is applying.
Another myth is that, when two equally qualified candidates exist for a position, but one is disabled, an employer is required by law to hire the disabled applicant. Again, this is untrue. The decision to hire an applicant is always left with an employer. The only caveat is that the final decision cannot be based on an applicant's disability. Therefore, in this scenario, an employer can hire the non-disabled individual if he or she is believed to be more qualified. However, it would be illegal to hire the non-disabled applicant simply because he or she would require less accommodation.
Though the ADA certainly comes into play in the hiring process, it may also be involved when workplace discrimination occurs in an individual's termination or promotion decisions. Therefore, those who believe they have been discriminated against because of their disability should consider speaking with a legal professional to determine if they have a legal route to financial recovery.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "Employers and the ADA: Myths and Facts," accessed on July 26, 2015