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Disabilities and the workplace

People with disabilities in Pennsylvania and the rest of the country may find it difficult to land a job. While the Americans with Disabilities Act requires qualified employees who have disabilities to be provided reasonable accommodations, it is contingent on the condition that it does not impose a significant hardship for the employer.

Unemployment statistics regarding people with disabilities have changed little since the ADA was enacted in 1990. The legislation was intended to improve employment prospects and statistics for disabled persons. It has been suggested that instead of relying on their own interpretations, employers should confer with employees as to what type of accommodations are appropriate.

A majority of companies have difficulty deciding what qualifies as an undue hardship. According to one attorney, it can include the nature of the required accommodation and the costs associated with it, the employer's financial resources and the manner in which an employer's business operations are structured. Employers have a high burden of proof when demonstrating their participation in the process of trying to provide reasonable accommodations. One mistake employers make is failing to properly list the essential job functions that pertain to the needs of the business. Employers are also in violation of the ADA when they compel employees to provide medical records that do not pertain to job requirements. They have to be able to verify that the information they requested pertains to whether the employee is capable of executing the job's core functions.

Individuals who believe that their rights under the American with Disabilities Act have been violated should speak with an attorney who practices employment law. It might be advisable to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission if the matter is not satisfactorily handled internally.

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