One of the most important developments in employment law in Dallas TX and in the rest of the United States, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), turns 25 this year. The ADA was a boon to mentally- and physically-disabled workers seeking employment or seeking protection from losing employment based on their disabilities. For employers, it was a set of rules put into place to enable them to know exactly what they had to do to treat disabled employees and job seekers fairly.
If you are an employer in North Texas, following these rules of law will not only ensure that you have a productive workforce, it will also help you to avoid any litigation involving discriminatory practices. Protecting yourself and your business by hiring an attorney experienced in employment law in Dallas TX to guide you is a great step in the right direction; but there are some basic things you need to know as well:
What the Americans with Disabilities Act is –
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the ADA prohibits employers with 15 or more employees, including private employers, state governments, local governments, labor unions and others, from discriminating against people with disabilities, provided those people are qualified. Employers must not discriminate in job application procedures, hiring and firing, promotion, fair compensation, training and any other rights or privileges associated with employment.
Who counts as disabled –
To be covered by this law, the ADA states that a disabled person must be one who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more life activities, such as seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks, caring for themselves or working. Not covered by the ADA are those people who have drug or alcohol problems.
What you as an employer can ask –
As an employer, you are prohibited from asking an employee or potential employee about the nature and severity of their disability or whether or not they even have a disability. You can ask whether or not they will be able to perform the duties that their job requires. You cannot ask an employee you suspect has a physical or mental disability to take a physical or have a medical exam unless it’s required of all employees or applicants and it is reasonable and job-related.
What you are required to do –
First, you are not required to hire a disabled applicant over a more qualified non-disabled applicant. But if you do hire a disabled individual, you are required to make reasonable workplace accommodations for that individual and his or her disability. Among the accommodations set down in the ADA, an employer must make facilities accessible to and usable by the person with disabilities, acquire or modify equipment, training materials or policies and provide qualified interpreters or readers. You are not, however, required to make these accommodations if they will cause you undue burdens or hardship. These hardships are determined by factors that include the size of your business, your financial resources and the nature of your business.
As with all areas of employment law in Dallas TX, the Americans with Disabilities Act is complex and because of its complexities, it is imperative that you consult with knowledgeable attorneys to ensure that you are in compliance. At Simon | Paschal, we can help you understand the complexities of ADA. Call us at (972) 893-9340 to schedule an appointment and visit us online at www.simonpaschal.com to find out more about how we can help you.
EMPLOYMENT LAW DALLAS TX
Simon Paschal PLLC
13601 Preston Road Suite W870
Dallas, Texas 75204