By: Gloria Roker
Many individuals with epilepsy and other chronic illnesses have experienced employment discrimination. Many however, do not understand what protections the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides for them and what actions they can take in the event of being discriminated against. It is more important than ever to understand what the ADA is, what protections it offers, and the resources available to help in the event of discrimination.
American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
This Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and access to state and local government programs and services.
According to ADA, a person with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such impairment, or is regarded as having a disability. Major life activities are activities that most people in the general population can perform with little or no difficulty. This also includes the operation of primary bodily functions.
Federal Laws Prohibiting Discrimination
Below lists all the federal laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities:
Title Ⅰ of the ADA
Title Ⅰ of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits private employers, state and local government, employment agencies, and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in different aspects of employment. The section of the ADA also requires employers with 15 or more employees, including State and local governments, to provide qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from the full range of every employment opportunity available to others.
Title Ⅱ of the ADA: State and Local Government
Title Ⅱ of the ADA consists of all State and local government activities involving employment and workforce-related practices regardless of the government entity’s size. The agencies responsible for enforcing Title 2 of the ADA are the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the Civil Rights Center (CRC).
Three sections under the Rehabilitation Act prohibit discrimination based on disability by federal
● Section 501 requires affirmative action and nondiscrimination in employment by federal
executive branch agencies.
● Section 503 also requires affirmative action and prohibits discrimination by Federal
government contractors and subcontractors with contracts of more than $10,000
● Section 504 overviews the prohibition of a qualified individual with a disability from certain
advantages. The advantages include but are not limited to benefits, any program or activity
that receives federal assistance or is conducted by executive agencies of the United States Postal
It is important to define, who is exactly considered ‘qualified.’ A person with a disability is deemed qualified if he or she can satisfy all skills required by the job. As well as he or she meets the educational and other job-related requirements of the position held or desired.
● Section 508 establishes requirements regarding information technology. This requires
electronics to be developed and maintained by the Federal government. All electronic and
information technology should be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
The following listed are all aspects of employment in which it is illegal to discriminate against
● job application procedures and job advertisement
● use of facilities
● fringe benefits
● retirement plans, disability leave, or other terms of employment
● hiring and firing
● job advancements, transfer, layoffs
● job training
● privileges of employment
Procedures related to discrimination charges
If you think you have been discriminated against in employment based on disability, you should immediately contact your nearest EEOC office, which stands for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. There is specific documentation that must be provided.
The following information must be provided to file a charge for discrimination:
● The complainant’s name, address, and contact information
● The same information must be provided by the respondent or defendant, including the
number of employees
● A description of the alleged violation, including the dates on which it happened
Please note that a complaint of discrimination must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. In some cases, you are allocated 300 days to file, typically cases for ADEA charges.
Filing an employment discrimination lawsuit in court
Once you receive a “right to sue” letter from the EEOC, you may file a lawsuit with a Federal Court within 90 days. Complaints concerning the ADEA, a suit may be filed at any time 60 days after EEOC gives notice that it has completed action on the charge.
You can contact the government if you have any questions. Listed below are resources available to help you if you have been discriminated against and have questions to see if you have a valid claim:
ADA Information Line
(800) 514-0301 (voice)
(800) 514-0383 (TTY)
ADA National Network
(800) 949-4232 (voice/TTY)
U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(800) 669-4000 (voice)
(800) 669-6820 (TTY)
(844) 234-5122 (VP)
It is important if you have experienced discrimination to keep record of what date it happened on, the situation, and any parties that are involved. Having your information documented will help you in establishing your case. Despite the federal protections of the ADA, many companies and employers try to get around the law, many citing that the employee created a liability and was not fit for the position. Many who do this do not make proper accommodations for the employee, which they have the right to those accommodations under the ADA.
In conclusion, This Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in several areas, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and access to state and local government programs and services. It is important to understand your rights in order to be able to advocate for yourself and prevent wrongful termination and other acts of discrimination. Contact the federal organizations listed above if you are experiencing discrimination to help you.
ADA National Network (2022). Information, Guidance, and Training on the Americans with Disabilities Act. ADA National Network. Retrieved from: https://adata.org/
United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (2022). Information and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act. United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Retrieved from: https://www.ada.gov/infoline.htm
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2022). EEOC Website Main Page. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Retrieved from: https://www.eeoc.gov/