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ADA Title I: Employment

  • Published: 2009-01-04 (Rev. 2014-02-03) - Contact: U.S. Department of Justice
  • Synopsis: Title I ADA complaints must be filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days of the date of discrimination.

Main Document

"An employer cannot refuse to hire you because your disability prevents you from performing duties that are not essential to the job."

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from the full range of employment-related opportunities available to others.

If you have a disability and are qualified to do a job, the ADA protects you from job discrimination on the basis of your disability. Under the ADA, you have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. The ADA also protects you if you have a history of such a disability, or if an employer believes that you have such a disability, even if you don't.

To be protected under the ADA, you must have, have a record of, or be regarded as having a substantial, as opposed to a minor, impairment. A substantial impairment is one that significantly limits or restricts a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, learning or working.

If you have a disability, you must also be qualified to perform the essential functions or duties of a job, with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to be protected from job discrimination by the ADA. This means two things. First, you must satisfy the employer's requirements for the job, such as education, employment experience, skills or licenses. Second, you must be able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. Essential functions are the fundamental job duties that you must be able to perform on your own or with the help of a reasonable accommodation. An employer cannot refuse to hire you because your disability prevents you from performing duties that are not essential to the job.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from the full range of employment-related opportunities available to others.

For example, it prohibits discrimination in recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, social activities, and other privileges of employment.

It restricts questions that can be asked about an applicant's disability before a job offer is made, and it requires that employers make reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities, unless it results in undue hardship.

Religious entities with 15 or more employees are covered under title I.

Title I complaints must be filed with the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the date of discrimination, or 300 days if the charge is filed with a designated State or local fair employment practice agency. Individuals may file a lawsuit in Federal court only after they receive a "right-to-sue" letter from the EEOC.

Charges of employment discrimination on the basis of disability may be filed at any U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission field office. Field offices are located in 50 cities throughout the U.S. and are listed in most telephone directories under "U.S. Government."

Visit this link for questions and answers concerning ADA Employment laws

  • For the appropriate EEOC field office in your geographic area, contact: (800) 669-4000 (voice) (800) 669-6820 (TTY) www.eeoc.gov
  • Publications and information on EEOC-enforced laws may be obtained by calling: (800) 669-3362 (voice) (800) 800-3302 (TTY)
  • For information on how to accommodate a specific individual with a disability, contact the Job Accommodation Network at: (800) 526-7234 (voice/TTY) www.jan.wvu.edu








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