As part of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities) act, a portion focuses on employment. Specifically, it talks about employment discrimination against qualified individuals, and this portion is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice.
What does this mean for you as an employer? Simple, if you violate ADA rules and regulations, you’ll find yourself in deep trouble!
That being said, let’s talk more about the ADA act, helping you understand how it defines a disability, who the ADA can protect, and the penalties you may face if you violate the ADA act:
What Is A Disability?
The ADA defines a disability as a condition that prevents an individual from performing a major life activity, such as walking, talking or seeing. Legally, disabilities fall into five separate categories, including:
Although this is a very general definition, it does give you a pretty good idea of what a disability is. If your employee has a physical handicap, hearing problems, a learning disability, or a mental condition, he/she would probably be protected by the ADA.
Who Is Eligible To Be Protected Under The ADA For Jobs?
The ADA protects qualified individuals who are those that can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.
A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment or change to the workplace or job duties that allow the disabled employee to perform the job they were hired to do.
For example, a cashier with a visual disability may need a hand-held scanner instead of a receipt/cash register. If you refuse to make certain adjustments, this could be considered discrimination and therefore violate the ADA.
What Are The Penalties For Violating The ADA?
There are many forms of penalties that can be imposed on your company, depending on various factors. Regardless, here are a few penalties you can expect to face should you violate the ADA.
Civil penalties: The ADA allows for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to impose civil penalties of up to $50,000 for the first violation if your failure to make reasonable accommodations violates the ADA.
Additionally, if you continue to violate the ADA and you know about the violation, the EEOC can impose an additional penalty of up to $100,000 for a second violation.
Criminal penalties: If you knowingly violate the ADA, you could be charged with a crime and face jail time as well as a hefty fine.
Liability of your company: If you violate the ADA, and this violation hurts a disabled person, your company could be liable for damages.
Liability of your managers and supervisors: Your managers and supervisors could also be held liable if they knowingly violate the ADA.
As you can see, the ADA act is specific, and it’s necessary for you to follow the rules. The law protects those that are disabled, and if you do not allow a disabled individual to work for your company and accommodate for them given that they can and qualify for it, you’ll probably find yourself in a position to pay some hefty fines. So, ensure that your business is compliant with ADA, then you can rest easy knowing that everyone can be happy working with you!
All Things Inspector offers inspection tools to help you meet various compliance requirements to keep your business compliant. If you are looking for ADA compliance tools, check out what we have to offer!