Americans with Disabilities Act and Business

The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 and the subsequent amendments in 2008 have established an environment of diversity in all aspects of American life. Its application to business and employment are very specific. Title 1 of the ADA provides protections to both the business and the individual with a disability.

Title I of the ADA specifically addresses business and applies to employers with 15 or more employees. Personnel procedures must allow people with disabilities to apply, be hired, advanced or discharged, based on their qualifications and performance, not their disabilities. Employment of people with disabilities, just like all employees, should be paid based on their qualifications. They should receive the same training and benefits as other employees. Medical examinations must be job related and consistent with the employer’s business needs. ADA does not cover employees or applicants using illegal drugs.

Reasonable accommodations are adjustments to a work setting that make it possible for a qualified employee with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job. Creating access or providing accommodations does not have to be an expensive endeavor. Accommodations can be simple or complex. In fact, 50 percent of accommodations cost under $500.

The U.S. Department of Labor provides universal design and universal strategies to assist a company to attract and keep a diverse workforce and customer base.

Other Resources

  • ADA Homepage: U.S. Department of Justice website for all information and resources for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Extensive federal resources and publications can be found to assist business.
  • Rocky Mountain ADA Center: Provides reliable information, guidance and training on the ADA, tailored to meet the needs of business. This Rocky Mountain ADA Center serves the intermountain states, including Utah.
  • JAN (Job Accommodation Network): Provides free consulting services for all employers, regardless of the size of an employer’s workforce. Services include one-on-one consultation about all aspects of job accommodations, including the accommodation process, accommodation ideas, product vendors, referral to other resources and ADA compliance assistance.