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Barriers to employment, transportation, public accommodations, public services, and telecommunications have imposed staggering economic and social costs on American society and have undermined the efforts of people with disabilities to receive an education, get employment, and be contributing members of society. By breaking down these barriers, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows society to benefit from the skills, talents, and purchasing power of people with disabilities and leads to a fuller and more productive life for all Americans. The ADA provides civil rights protections to people with disabilities similar to those provided to people on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It ensures equal opportunities for people with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

This brochure is designed to provide answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the ADA. Changes to the ADAAA definition of disability apply to all ADA titles, including Title I (employment practices of private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local governments, employment agencies, unions, employer agents, and jointly-managed labor committees); Title II (programs and activities of state and local government entities); and Title III (private entities that are considered places of public accommodation). However, the final regulations of the EEOC apply only to Title I of the ADA; they do not apply to Titles II and III of the ADA. Other federal agencies, such as the U.

S. Department of Transportation and the U. Department of Labor, will have to modify its regulations to reflect the changes in the definition of disability required by the ADAAA. The labor provisions of Title I apply to private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local governments, employment agencies, unions, employer agents, and joint labor management committees. The ADA prohibits discrimination in all employment practices, including employment application procedures, hiring, firing, promotion, compensation, training, and other employment terms, conditions, and privileges.

It applies to hiring, advertising, tenure, dismissals, leave, fringe benefits, and all other employment-related activities. The second part of the definition that protects people with a history of disability would include, for example, a person who has recovered from cancer or mental illness. Under the third part of the definition, a covered entity considers a person to have a disability if it takes an action prohibited by the ADA (e.g., an employer is free to select the most qualified applicant available and to make decisions based on reasons unrelated to a disability).For example, let's say that two people apply for a job as a typist and an essential job function is to type 75 words per minute with precision. One applicant - a person with a disability who is provided with reasonable accommodations for a typing test - writes 50 words per minute; the other applicant who does not have a disability accurately writes 75 words per minute. The employer can hire the applicant with the highest writing speed if the writing speed is necessary for the successful performance of the job. An employer can condition a job offer on the satisfactory outcome of a medical examination or medical investigation subsequent to the offer if required by all employees who enter the same employment category.

A post-offer review or consultation does not have to be work-related or consistent with business needs. However if a person is not hired because a medical exam or post-offer consultation reveals a disability; the reasons for not hiring must be work-related and consistent with the company's needs. The employer must also show that there were no reasonable accommodations available that would allow the person to perform essential job functions or that the accommodations would impose undue hardship. A post-offer medical examination may disqualify an individual if the employer can show that the person would pose a direct threat in the workplace (i.e., this disqualification is work-related and consistent with business need). A post-offer medical examination may not disqualify a person with a disability who is currently able to perform essential job functions due to speculation that the disability may result in a risk of injury in the future. After a person starts working; an employee's medical examination or consultation must be work-related and consistent with the company's needs.

Employers may conduct medical examinations on employees when there is evidence of a performance or job safety problem that they reasonably believe is due to a medical condition; examinations required by other federal laws; return-to-work examinations when they reasonably believe that an employee will be unable to do their job or may pose a direct threat due to a medical condition; and voluntary examinations that are part of employee health programs. Information from all medical examinations and consultations should be kept separate from general staff files as a separate confidential medical record available only under limited conditions. Tests for illegal drug use are not medical tests under the ADA and are not subject to restrictions on such tests. A pre-employment consultation about a disability is allowed if required by other federal laws or regulations such as those applicable to veterans with disabilities and veterans of Vietnam era. Pre-employment consultations on disabilities may be necessary under such laws to identify applicants or customers with disabilities in order to provide them with special services required. An employer may also ask an applicant to identify himself as someone with a disability when an employer voluntarily uses this information for benefit people with disabilities.

Federal contractors and subcontractors who are covered by affirmative action requirements of section 503 of Rehabilitation Act 1973 may invite individuals with disabilities identify themselves on an employment application form or through other pre-employment consultation meet affirmative action requirements section 503. Employers who request such information must comply with requirements section 503 regarding manner which such information requested used procedures maintaining such information as separate confidential record apart from ordinary staff records. Reasonable accommodations are available for individuals who need them in order for them to perform essential job functions without undue hardship on employers. Employers should consider reasonable accommodations when making decisions about hiring applicants or providing services for customers who have disabilities.