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What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

If you have a physical or mental disability, then you have several important rights afforded to you thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, this key piece of legislature made it illegal for an employer in Minnesota to discriminate against you due to your disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 expanded the coverage, including adding certain conditions.

Unless all prospective or incoming employees must also undergo one, your employer or prospective employer is not allowed to request a medical examination. The employer has the right to ask you about your ability to perform expected job duties, although he or she cannot directly ask about your disability.

If you have a disability, whether physical or mental, you are protected from a variety of employment practices, including:

  • Firing and layoffs
  • Hiring and recruitment
  • Job assignments and training
  • Pay, benefits and promotions
  • Leave

This protection also covers you if your employer only thinks you are disabled. However, you still cannot get a job for which you are not qualified, or that you cannot perform with reasonable accommodation, if you need it. Unless it causes undue hardship, your employer must provide you with this accommodation. Examples of this might be a modified work schedule, a reader or interpreter, equipment and a workspace that are accessible based on your needs. Small businesses with fewer than 15 employees might be exempt from some of these regulations.

If you feel that you are being discriminated against and you wish to demand your employer provide you the rights afforded by the ADA, you are protected from retaliation against you. This information is provided to educate only and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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