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The EEOC makes revisions to its disability discrimination protections

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued four revised documents regarding protection against disability discrimination, consistent with the  agency’s strategic plan to provide up-to-date  clarification regarding the requirements of antidiscrimination laws.

The EEOC’s documents address how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to applicants and employees with  cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities.

“Nearly 34 million Americans have been diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, or epilepsy, and more than 2 million have an intellectual disability,” said EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien.   While there is a considerable amount of general information available about the ADA, many people are still unsure about how the ADA applies to these conditions.

The revised documents offer clarification and reflect the changes to the definition of disability made by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) that make it easier to conclude that individuals with a wide range of impairments, including cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities, are protected by the ADA.

The documents also answer questions about topics such as:

  1. When and how an employer may obtain medical information from job applicants and employees.  An employer may not ask a job applicant to answer medical questions or take a medical exam before extending a job offer. However, an employer may ask job applicants whether they can perform the job and how they would perform the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation.
  2.  What types of reasonable accommodations individuals with these particular disabilities might need.  An employer may not refuse to provide an accommodation just because it costs money. However, an employer does not have to provide an accommodation if doing so would cause an undue hardship.A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment to a work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. Reasonable accommodation may include:

    • acquiring or modifying equipment or devices.
    • job restructuring.
    • modified of an employees work schedules
    • making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities

  3. What an employer should do to prevent and correct disability harassment. 

If you have been the victim of discrimination or wrongful termination, please call California Employment Attorney, Todd M. Friedman for a free consultation.