Debunking Four Common Myths About the Americans with Disabilities Act and Workplace Accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide workers and applicants with reasonable accommodations so they can have an equal chance to get jobs and do their work. Some accommodations generally considered include changing job tasks, improving accessibility in a work area, changing the presentation of tests and training materials, and allowing a flexible work schedule.

Unfortunately, some people do not have the correct information about the Americans with Disabilities Act, what workplace accommodations are, or how workplace accommodations function. Many myths abound about the ADA and workplace accommodations. Below, we debunk some of the most common myths about the Americans with Disabilities Act and workplace accommodations;

Myth #1: The ADA Requires Employers to Hire Unqualified People With Disabilities

False: The Americans with Disabilities Act does not require employers to hire someone just because they have a disability. A job applicant cannot claim that they were discriminated against if they are unqualified for the job. To be protected from discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an applicant must meet all job requirements and be able to complete the job’s essential functions with or without accommodations.  

Myth #2: When There are Several Individuals Qualified for a Job, and One is Disabled, the ADA Requires the Employer to Pick That Individual

False: In such a scenario, an employer is free to hire any candidate as long as their decision is not based on discrimination.

Suppose two people, one with a disability and one without a disability, apply for a data entry job whose main requirement is that a person can type at least 70 words per minute. The applicant with a disability is provided a reasonable accommodation and types 40 words per minute during the interview. The other applicant types the required 70 words per minute. In this case, the employer can hire the applicant who typed 70 words per minute because typing speed is a crucial part of the job.  

Myth #3: Workplace Accommodations are a Form of Preferential Treatment

False: This is something that some employees might feel, especially if a co-worker’s disability is not obvious. The truth is that accommodations are meant to give every worker a chance to do their best at work, and just because a disability is not obvious does not mean someone is not disabled. There are many medical conditions that are considered a disability within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act, some of which are not easily noticeable. For example, someone may be receiving accommodations because of their diabetes.  

Myth #4: The ADA Prohibits Employers From Disciplining or Firing Employees Who Have Disabilities 

False: While the ADA requires employers to provide employees with disabilities reasonable accommodations, all employees, including those with disabilities, must meet their employer’s performance standards. In other words, a disabled employee who has been provided with reasonable accommodations can be held to the same standards as every other employee. 

Contact the Trabosh Law Firm

If you have questions concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act or workplace accommodations or need legal help, contact The Trabosh Law Firm to speak to a qualified New Jersey employment lawyer. 

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