The ADA applies to employers with at least 15 employees. The burden of proof and remedies in an ADA claim are similar to those available in Title VII.
But the ADA also prohibits unlawful discrimination by an employer against an applicant or employee because of a perceived disability, whether or not the individual had an actual disability.
The ADA requires an employer to provide a “reasonable accommodation” to a “qualified individual with a disability.” Typically, no employer may discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability in regard to hiring, advancement, or discharge.
To assert a valid ADA claim, an employee typically must establish: (1) that he/she is disabled within the meaning of the law, including having a history of a disability or being “regarded as disabled”; (2) that he/she is qualified for the job; and, (3) that he/she suffered an adverse employment action (like termination).
A “qualified individual with a disability” is “an individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position that such individual holds or desires.”
ADA cases may be factually complex and technical, and they often require a vocational or rehabilitation expert.
A company also may not retaliate against any employee for opposing disability discrimination or participating in protected activities, including complaints or investigations of disability discrimination. An employer has engaged in unlawful retaliation under the ADA if there is: (1) protected opposition to ADA discrimination or participation in an ADA proceeding; (2) adverse action by the employer subsequent to or contemporaneous with such protected activity; and, (3) a causal connection between such activity and the employer’s adverse action.