“With today’s signing of the landmark Americans for Disabilities Act, every man, woman, and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright new era of equality, independence, and freedom,” President George H.W. Bush at the signing of the ADA.
On Sunday, July 26, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities, intended to assure fairness and impartiality of opportunity, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.
The enactment was a collaborative effort by Democrats, Republicans, the legislative and the executive branches, and federal and state agencies, making a significant impact on the lives of people with disabilities for the past three decades.
ADA Protections & Accommodations
According to the CDC, one in four adults in the United States is living with a disability, which means a large portion of the workforce may need some sort of accommodations to allow for gainful employment.
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified applicants and employees with a disability, unless the employer can demonstrate that doing so creates an undue hardship to the employer or poses a direct threat to the safety of the employee or others in the workplace.
But what defines “reasonable accommodation”? In simple terms, it’s a change the employer can make to ensure that a qualified individual with a disability can perform the essential functions of the job and access equal employment opportunities. These changes may involve:
- Application process
- Hiring process
- Job itself
- Way the job is done
- Work environment
Essentially, the ADA prohibits covered employers from discriminating against people with disabilities in the full range of employment-related activities, from recruitment to advancement, to pay and benefits.
ADA Hiring Compliance
It is important to understand that the ADA does not interfere with an employer’s right to hire the best-qualified applicant, nor does it impose any affirmative action obligations.
The ADA does not give hiring preference to persons with disabilities, but rather prohibits employers from discriminating against a qualified applicant or employee because of her disability.
Under the ADA, to be protected from discrimination in hiring, an individual with a disability must be qualified, which means he or she must meet all requirements for a job and be able to perform its essential functions with or without reasonable accommodations. Simply put, an employer is always free to hire the applicant of its choosing as long as the decision is not based on disability.
The upcoming ADA Anniversary is a time to positively reflect on a law that has made a great impact on the lives of people with disabilities and our country over the past 30 years, creating a new era of opportunity for all Americans.
The ADA is equally as important for those being hired as it is for those making the hiring decisions. We at Accurate respect and value this integral milestone, and encourage you to celebrate ADA day and its impact with us.