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What are my rights as a disabled employee?

In order to be viewed as disabled by the government, especially under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) you need to have a disability, either physical or mental, that limits at least one major activity in life.

The ADA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if the employer has more than 15 employees on the payroll. So, what are your rights as a disabled employee?

First and foremost, the ADA affords disabled employees the right to request reasonable accommodations at their workplace. That could include any of the following:

  • Appropriate adjustment of any policies or procedures for employees
  • Restructuring of a job
  • Providing you an interpreter
  • A modified or flexible work schedule
  • Updating the workplace to make it more accessible for people with disabilities
  • Offering new equipment or modifying existing equipment
  • Reassigning you to another position with your consent

Employers are not allowed to request a job candidate to undergo a medical exam prior to being offered employment, according to the ADA. However, if the entire staff in a department is required to get such an exam, this rule can be waived by the ADA.

In order to be properly covered by the ADA, you must be able to adequately perform the job's essential tasks for which you will be hired with or without a reasonable accommodation being present. You will need to meet the requirements of the job, which includes education, work experience and skills.

Now that you know what you are legally entitled to as a disabled employee in the United States you should monitor how you are handled at work. Don't let your employer push you around or make decisions for you without your consent.

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