July 26, 2015 marked 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. The protections of the ADA apply to federal employees through the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which was the model for the ADA. The law prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified job applicants and employees based on their physical or mental disabilities. Just as important, the law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to qualified individuals, so long as it will not result in an undue hardship to the employer. Reasonable accommodations can come in many different forms, depending on the individual’s medical restrictions and job duties.
Disability issues in employment situations continue to be the source of an ever-changing area of law. Passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) created a whole new world of opportunity for individuals facing challenges at work due to their medical conditions. The ADAAA rejected a series of Supreme Court interpretations that had significantly restricted the protections of the ADA. The ADAAA clarified and expanded the ADA’s definition of “disability” to widen the scope of coverage under both the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. Because of the broadened definition of “disability,” the ADAAA allows for protection of a wide variety of physical and mental medical conditions that would not have otherwise received coverage by the law.
If you are a federal employee or applicant for federal employment and believe that you have suffered mistreatment or been denied reasonable accommodation based on a disability, please contact the law firm of Bonney, Allenberg, & O’Reilly, P.C., at (757) 460-3477, to request an initial consultation.