Title I Employment:
Provides for non-discrimination against individuals with disabilities
by private and public employers.
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT -- AN OVERVIEW Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training and other terms and conditions of employment. Companies with 15 or more employees should be aware of these key aspects of the law: ? An employer is required to make a "reasonable accommodation" to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it does not impose an "undue hardship" on the operation of the employer's business. What actually constitutes an undue hardship will be largely determined on a case-by-case basis. The concept of undue hardship includes any action that is: ? unduly costly; ? extensive; ? substantial; ? disruptive; or ? that would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business. ? Employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. The employer cannot require a job applicant to take a medical examination before making a job offer. A job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical examination, but only if such an exam is required for all new employees. Moreover, the employer must establish that physical qualification standards are job-related and consistent with business necessity. ? An employer is not required to lower existing production standards applicable to the quality or quantity of work for a given job in considering qualifications of an individual with a disability, if these standards are uniformly applied to all applicants and employees in that job. ? The Act does not apply to employees with temporary disabilities that have no long-term effect such as an employee with a broken arm that will heal. ? When an employee is no longer able to perform in a job due to disability, the employer must consider reassigning the employee to another position that is available. ? The Act protects persons with AIDS and HIV disease from discrimination. ? The Act requires that covered employers post a notice describing the provisions of the Act. If you require such a notice, please contact this office, and we will obtain for you such a notice at no charge. ? The Act permits employers to ensure that the workplace is free from the illegal use of drugs and the use of alcohol. However, it does provide limited protection for recovering drug addicts and for alcoholics. If you have any questions concerning the applicability of the Act to your company, please do not hesitate to call upon us.
Before you Conduct an Interview: Interview preparation checklist: Have a written job description that identifies the essential functions of the position. Learn where to find and recruit people with disabilities. Make sure the place where you plan to conduct the interview is accessible. Understand that access includes not only environmental access but also making forms accessible to people with visual or cognitive disabilities. Provide reasonable accommodations that the qualified applicant will need to compete for the job. Do relax and make the job applicant feel comfortable. During the interview: Conduct the interview in a manner that emphasizes abilities, achievements and individual qualities. Focus on questions about the individual's ability to perform the essential function of the position. Example: the job requires lifting and carrying 15-pound boxes, can you do that? If not, how can you move these boxes from point A to point B? If it appears that a person's ability inhibits performance of a job, ask: How would you perform this task? Examples: Inappropriate: I notice that you are in a wheelchair, and I wonder how you get around. Tell me about your disability? Appropriate: This position requires digging and using a wheelbarrow, as you can see from the job description. Do you foresee any difficulty in performing the required tasks? If so, do you have any suggestions how these tasks can be performed? Don't ask if a person has a disability during an interview. Don't assume that certain jobs are more suited to persons with disabilities. Do treat an individual with a disability the same way you would treat any applicant - with dignity and respect. The list that follows indicates examples of appropriate & inappropriate questions that can be asked during an interview. Appropriate questions to ask: 1. Identify the essential functions of the position and ask; can you perform the essential functions of this position with or without reasonable accommodation? Note: If the need for accommodation is not obvious, the employer may ask for documentation of the applicant's disability. 2. If the applicant has an obvious disability or voluntarily discloses a hidden disability the following questions can be asked: Whether s/he needs a reasonable accommodation? What type of accommodation would be needed to perform the essential functions of the job? Example: If the applicant says he needs software to increase the size of the text on the computer screen as a reasonable accommodation - the employer may ask questions such as: Who makes the software? Do you need a particular brand? Is that software compatible with our computers? 3. Describe how you would perform [insert specific job functions here]. This question may be asked as long as all applicants are asked to do this. 4. Do you have (blank) certificate or (blank) license required for the job duties? 5. State the attendance requirement and ask the applicant whether he or she can meet this requirement. 6. How many days of work did you miss at your prior job? 7. How many Mondays and Fridays did you miss at your prior job? 8. This job involves working varied shifts; can you work varied shifts? 9. This work is seasonal and requires that employees work fifteen hours of overtime a month during the fall; can you do that? Inappropriate questions to ask: 1. Whether an applicant has a particular disability. 2. If the applicant has an obvious disability, or has voluntarily disclosed a disability, you may not ask the nature of the disability; the severity of the disability; the condition causing the disability; the prognosis; whether the applicant will need treatment or special leave because of the disability. 3. What impairments do you have? 4. Have you ever had or been treated for any of the following conditions or diseases? 5. List any conditions or diseases for which you have been treated in the past three years? 6. Have you ever been hospitalized? If so, for what condition? 7. Have you ever been treated by a psychiatrist or psychologist? If so, for what condition? 8. Have you ever been treated for any mental condition? 9. Is there any health-related reason you may not be able to perform the job for which you are applying? 10. Have you had major illness in the last five years? 11. How many sick days did you take at your previous job? Or how many days were you absent from work because of illness last year? 12. Have you ever filed a workers' compensation claim? 13. Have you had any prior job-related injuries? 14. What medications are you currently taking? 15. Have you ever been treated for drug addiction or drug abuse? 16. How often did you use illegal drugs in the past? 17. How much alcohol an applicant drinks or whether s/he has participated in an alcohol rehabilitation program. Also, 18. Whether an applicant will need reasonable accommodation to perform the job [Example: may not ask on application "Can you do these functions with ______ without ______ reasonable accommodation? (Check one)"]
Do and Don'ts Do learn where to find and recruit people with disabilities. Do learn how to communicate with people who have disabilities. Do ensure that your applications and other company forms do not ask disablity-related questions and that they are in formats that are accessible to all persons with disabilities. Do consider having written job descriptions that identify the essential functions of each job. Do ensure that requirements for medical examinations comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.) Do relax and make the applicant feel comfortable. Do provide reasonable accommodations that the qualified applicant will need to compete for the job. Do treat an individual with a disability the same way you would treat any applicant or employee -- with dignity and respect. Do know that among those protected by the ADA are qualified individuals who have AIDS, cancer, who are mentally retarded, traumatically brain-injured, deaf, blind and learning disabled. Do understand that access includes not only environmental access but also making forms accessible to people with visual or cognitive disabilities and making alarms and signals accessible to people with hearing disabilities. Do develop procedures for maintaining and protecting confidential medical records. Do train supervisors on making reasonable accommodations. Don't assume that persons with disabilities do not want to work. Don't assume that alcoholism and drug abuse are not real disabilities, or that recovering drug abusers are not covered by the ADA. Don't ask if a person has a disability during an employment interview. Don't assume that certain jobs are more suited to persons with disabilities. Don't hire a person with a disability if that person is at significant risk of substantial harm to the health and safety of the public and there is no reasonable accommodation to reduce the risk or harm. Don't hire a person with a disability who is not qualified to perform the essential functions of the job even with a reasonable accommodation. Don't assume that you have to retain an unqualified employee with a disability. Don't assume that your current management will need special training to learn how to work with people with disabilities. Don't assume that the cost of accident insurance will increase as a result of hiring a person with a disability. Don't assume that the work environment will be unsafe if an employee has a disability. Don't assume that reasonable accommodations are expensive. Don't speculate or try to imagine how you would perform a specific job if you had the applicant's disability. Don't assume that you don't have any jobs that a person with a disability can do. Don't assume that your work place is accessible. Don't make medical judgements. Don't assume that a person with a disability can't do a job due to apparent or non-apparent disabilities.
Interviewing Scheduling Etiquette Some interviewees with visual or mobility impairments will phone in prior to the appointment date, specifically for travel information. The scheduler should be very familiar with the travel path in order to provide interviewees with detailed information. Make sure the place where you plan to conduct the interview is accessible by checking the following: ? Are there handicap parking spaces available and nearby? ? Is there a ramp or step-free entrance? ? Are there accessible restrooms? ? If the interview is not on the first floor, does the building have an elevator? ? Are there any water fountains and telephones at the proper height for a person in a wheelchair to use? ? If an interview site is inaccessible (e.g., steps without a ramp or a building without an elevator), inform the person about the barrier prior to the interview and offer to make arrangements for an alternative interview site. When scheduling interviews for persons with disabilities, consider their needs ahead of time: ? When giving directions to a person in a wheelchair, consider distance, weather conditions and physical obstacles such as stairs, curbs and steep hills. ? Use specifics such as left a hundred feet or right two yards when directing a person with a visual impairment. ? Be considerate of the additional travel time that may be required by a person with a disability. Familiarize the interviewee in advance with the names of all persons he or she will be meeting during the visit. This courtesy allows persons with disabilities to be aware of the names and faces that will be met. People with disabilities use a variety of transportation services when traveling to and from work. When scheduling an interview, be aware that the person may be required to make a reservation 24 hours in advance, plus travel time. Provide the interviewee with an estimated time to schedule the return trip when arranging the interview appointment. Expect the same measure of punctuality and performance from people with disabilities that is required of every potential or actual employee. People with disabilities expect equal treatment, not special treatment.
Interviewing Courtesies for Effective Communication Interviewers need to know whether or not the job site is accessible and should be prepared to answer accessibility-related questions. Interviewing a person using Mobility Aids Interviewing a person with Vision Impairments Interviewing a person with Speech Impairments Interviewing a person who is Deaf or Hearing Impaired Interviewing a person using Mobility Aids Enable people who use crutches, canes or wheelchairs to keep them within reach. Be aware that some wheelchair users may choose to transfer themselves out of their wheelchairs (into an office chair, for example) for the duration of the interview. Here again, when speaking to a person in a wheelchair or on crutches for more than a few minutes, sit in a chair. Place yourself at that person's eye level to facilitate conversation. Interviewing a person with Vision Impairments When greeting a person with a vision impairment always identify yourself and introduce anyone else who might be present. If the person does not extend their hand to shake hands, verbally extend a welcome. EXAMPLE: Welcome to the City of San Antonio Planning Department, Disability Access Office. When offering seating, place the person's hand on the back or arm of the seat. A verbal cue is helpful as well. Let the person know if you move or need to end the conversation. Allow people who use crutches, canes or wheelchairs to keep them within reach. Interviewing a person with Speech Impairments Give your whole attention with interest when talking to a person who has a speech impairment. Ask short questions that require short answers or a nod of the head. Do not pretend to understand if you do not. Try rephrasing what you wish to communicate, or ask the person to repeat what you do not understand. Do not raise your voice. Most speech impaired persons can hear and understand. Interview a person who is Deaf or Hearing Impaired If you need to attract the attention of a person who is deaf or hearing impaired, touch him or her lightly on the shoulder. If the interviewee lip-reads, look directly at him or her. Speak clearly at a normal pace. Do not exaggerate your lip movements or shout. Speak expressively because the person will rely on your facial expressions, gestures and eye contact. (Note: It is estimated that only four out of ten spoken words are visible on the lips.) Place yourself placing the light source and keep your hands, cigarettes and food away from your mouth when speaking. Shouting does not help and can be detrimental. Only raise your voice when requested. Brief, concise written notes may be helpful. In the United States most deaf people use American Sign Language (ASL.) ASL is not a universal language. ASL is a language with its own syntax and grammatical structure. When scheduling an interpreter for a non- English speaking person, be certain to retain an interpreter that speaks and interprets in the language of the person. If an interpreter is present, it is commonplace for the interpreter to be seated beside the interviewer, across from the interviewee. Interpreters facilitate communication. They should not be consulted or regarded as a reference for the interview.
Interviewing Technique Etiquette Conduct interviews in a manner that emphasizes abilities, achievements and individual qualities. Conduct your interview as you would with anyone. Be considerate without being patronizing. When interviewing a person with a speech impediment, stifle any urge to complete a sentence of an interviewee. If it appears that a person's ability inhibits performance of a job, ask: How would you perform this job? Examples: Inappropriate: I notice that you are in a wheelchair, and I wonder how you get around. Tell me about your disability. Appropriate: This position requires digging and using a wheelbarrow, as you can see from the job description. Do you foresee any difficulty in performing the required tasks? If so, do you have any suggestions how these tasks can be performed? Return to the INDEX Next Section: Interviewing Courtesies for Effective Communication
Before you Initiate a Pre-employment Test: Remember that the reasonable accommodation process extends to pre-employment testing. Note: An accommodation would not need to be provided if it would fundamentally alter the nature of the job. Example: It would fundamentally alter the nature of a job if an applicant who is blind requests documents on tape in order to take a proofreading test. A physical agility test in which an applicant demonstrates the ability to perform actual or simulated job tasks is not a medical exam under the ADA and can be given prior to a job offer. However, if an employer measures an applicant's physiological or biological responses to performance, the test would be medical. (Example: blood pressure or heart rate) Note: Although an employer cannot ask disability-related questions, it may give the applicant a description of the agility or fitness test and ask the applicant to have a private physician simply state whether s/he can safely perform the test. A test to detect the illegal use of drugs is not considered a medical examination and can be given prior to a job offer. Urine and breath tests that detect the use of alcohol can not be given prior to a job offer. This document is available in alternative formats upon request.
Before you Initiate a Post Offer Medical Exam: A medical exam is defined as a procedure or test that seeks information about physical or mental impairments or health. After giving a job offer an employer may require a medical exam. A job offer may be conditional based on the satisfactory outcome of a medical exam. If the finding from a medical exam merit concerns regarding a persons ability to perform the essential functions of a position - initiate the reasonable accommodation process. Do not withdraw a job offer based only on a recommendation from a physician or nurse NOT TO HIRE A PERSON! Keep medical information confidential and in a file separate from personnel records. An employer must keep any medical information on employees confidential, with the following exceptions: Supervisors and managers may be told about necessary restrictions on the work or duties of the employee and about necessary accommodations; First aid and safety personnel may be told if the disability might require emergency treatment; Government officials investigating compliance with the ADA must be given relevant information on request Employers may give information to state workers' compensation offices, state second injury funds or workers' compensation insurance carriers in accordance with state workers' compensation laws. Employers may use the information for insurance purposes. This document is available in alternative formats upon request.
Before you Determine If an Employee has a Disability as Defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA: An individual with a disability is a person who: Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a "major life activity," has a record of such an impairment, is regarded as having such an impairment. (Relationship to a person with a disability is also included.) Remember the 4 R's: Really are..., Record of having..., Regarded as... or Relationship with... "Major life activities" include functions such as: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, *thinking, *concentrating, and *interaction with others. (* Applies to an identified mental impairment.) THIS IS NOT AN EXHAUSTIVE LIST! If an employee has a hidden disability you may ask for documentation specific to the disability. The impairment(s) must substantially limit one or more major life activities. Factors to be considered when determining if an impairment is substantially limiting are: Nature Severity Expected duration Expected long term impact This determination should be made on a case-by-case basis. "Some impairments may be disabling for particular individuals but not for others." If the employee meets the ADA definition of a person with a disability and has requested a reasonable accommodation the next step is to: Identify the essential functions of their position and initiate the reasonable accommodation process. This document is available in alternative formats upon request.
8 criteria for determining essential functions: 1. The reason the job exists is to perform a particular function. 2. There are a limited number of employees available among whom the performance of a job function can be distributed. 3. The function is highly specialized so that a person is hired for his/her expertise or ability to perform a particular function. 4. Employer's judgment that a function is essential. 5. The amount of time spent on the job performing the function. 6. The consequences of not requiring the incumbent to perform the function. 7. The work experience of past incumbents in the job. 8. The current work experience of incumbents in similar jobs. The list below indicates examples of the wrong and right way to phrase the essential functions (critical duties) of a position. Remember to focus on the end result, not how the task is accomplished. Correct: Move fifty-pound boxes from point A to point B. Incorrect: Having to lift fifty-pound boxes. Correct: Duplicating information. Incorrect: Copying information. (Unless this is the only way the information can be duplicated.) Correct: *Input data at 75 words per minute using Word for Windows. Incorrect: **Type 75 words a minute using Word for Windows. * For example, voice recognition software might be used instead of typing. ** If a manager requires accurate 75 word per minute typing, such requirements would have to actually be imposed in the work place and not just on paper. Example: A secretarial job may involve the following functions: (Questions1-6 are the essential functions.) 1. Transcribing dictation and written drafts from the supervisor and other staff into final documents; 2. Proof-reading documents for accuracy; 3. Developing and maintaining files; 4. Scheduling and making arrangements for meetings and conferences; 5. Logging documents and correspondence in and out; 6. Placing, answering, and referring telephone calls; (Questions 7-9 are the marginal functions.) 7. Distributing documents to appropriate staff members; 8. Reproducing documents on copying machines; 9. Occasional travel to perform clerical tasks at out of town conferences.
Before you Handle a Request for a Reasonable Accommodation: The "Creative" Reasonable Accommodation Process Step 1: Determine if the employee is a "qualified" individual with a disability. A "qualified" individual with a disability is one who meets the essential eligibility requirements for the position. The "essential eligibility requirements" will depend on the specific position. An individual with a disability is a person who: Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a "major life activity," has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. "Major life activities" include functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, *thinking, *concentrating and *interaction with others. (*An identified mental impairment.) Step 2: Identify all the employee's potential accommodations by: Involving the participant who has the disability in every step of the process; Employing confidentiality principles while exploring ways to provide accommodations; Consult with rehabilitation professionals, if needed; Step 3: Select and provide the accommodations that are most appropriate for the employee and employer by: Remember: Involving the employee who has the disability. Accommodations selected should be effective, reliable, easy to use and readily available for the employee needing the accommodation. If it is a product the employee should try the product prior to purchase. Step 4: Check results by: Monitoring the accommodation to see if the adaptation enables the employee to complete the necessary task(s); Periodically evaluating the accommodation(s) to ensure effectiveness. Step 5: Provide follow-up, if needed, by: Repeating these steps, if appropriate. Examples of Reasonable Accommodations: Remember that these are only ideas. Each situation calls for an individual assessment. For individuals who are deaf or hearing impaired: 1. Ensure the availability of TTYs or other appropriate assistive listening devices. 2. Use state telecommunication relay services. 3. Consider E-mail for intra and interoffice communication. 4. Provide tactile pagers as an alerting system. 5. Share information via networked computers. 6. Use computer note taking. 7. Provide visual and auditory alerting devices on telephones and fire alarm systems. 8. Ensure that all rooms used for meetings or training are adequately lighted. 9. Utilize assistive listening devices such as FM, infrared, loop systems, and/or closed captioning decoders in meeting and training sessions. 10. Use professional interpreters (oral and/or sign) when needed. 11. Use note takers in meetings and groups. 12. Consider "communication cops" at meetings (one person who monitors the meeting to ensure that only one person speaks at a time). For individuals who are blind or visually impaired: 1. Mail the application to the candidate. 2. Offer a walk-in applicant an opportunity to take the form, have someone help complete it and return it by mail or in person. 3. Offer the services of someone in the office to assist in completing the form. 4. If the candidate is taking public transportation, indicate which stop is closest, then give directions from the stop. 5. Dot of silicon on a knob, switch, or button permits a person to align controls. 6. Wide felt-tip marker may make file folder labels readable. 7. Different size strips of masking tape identify parts bins for production employees. 8. Screen text enlargers use software to enlarge print on a computer screen. 9. Screen reading software (example: Jaws for Windows). 10. Speech synthesizer (example: DECtalk). 11. Braille display (example: Power Braille 80 keyboard). For individuals who have cognitive disabilities: 1. Clarification and assistance in completing information needed on the job application. 2. Conducting a verbal interview to obtain job application information. 3. Describing job requirements clearly, concisely and simply. 4. Adjusting length of interview to maximize applicants' ability to remain attentive. 5. Interviewing in a quiet, informal, distraction-free environment. 6. Spend additional time in training the new employee. 7. Break job tasks down into smaller steps, which are more clearly defined. 8. Use very clear and basic language to provide job instructions. 9. Develop a set routine in a job. 10. Allow the employee to use alarm watches or timers. 11. Develop pictures or diagrams showing job sequence to assist in learning tasks. For individuals with psychiatric disabilities: 1. Flexible scheduling. 2. Allow longer or more frequent work breaks (but still require an 8-hour workday). 3. Provide backup coverage for when the employee needs to take breaks. 4. Provide additional time to learn new responsibilities. 5. Provide self-paced workload. 6. Allow time off for counseling. 7. Allow for use of supportive employment and job coaches. 8. Allow employee to work from home during part of the day. 9. Provide for job sharing opportunities. 10. Reduce distractions in the work area. 11. Provide space enclosures or a private office. 12. Allow for use of white noise or environmental sound machines. 13. Increase natural lighting or provide full spectrum lighting. 14. Plan for uninterrupted work time. 15. Divide large assignments into small task steps. 16. Make daily TO DO lists and check items off as they are completed. 17. Use several calendars to mark meetings and deadlines. 18. Remind employee of important deadlines. 19. Use electronic organizers. 20. Provide positive praise and reinforcement. 21. Provide written job instructions. 22. Write clear expectations of responsibilities and the consequences of not meeting them. 23. Establish written long term and short term goals. 24. Develop strategies to deal with problems before they arise. 25. Allow telephone calls during work hours to doctors and others for needed support. 26. Provide sensitivity training to coworkers. 27. Recognize that a change in the office environment or of supervisors may be difficult for a person with a psychiatric disability. 28. Maintain open channels of communications between the employee and the new and old supervisor in order to ensure an effective transition. 29. Provide weekly or monthly meetings with the employee to discuss workplace issues and production levels. For individuals in recovery from a drug or alcohol impairment: 1. A modified work schedule to permit an employee to pick up their daily methadone dosage or to attend and outpatient relapse prevention counseling session. 2. Job restructuring to relieve an employee of particular marginal tasks that may compromise recovery or be inappropriate in the early stages of recovery. 3. Temporary reassignment of an employee in a safety-related position to a vacant non-safety sensitive position while he or she completes treatment. 4. Unpaid leave to permit an individual with a current alcohol impairment to attend an in-patient treatment program. For individuals with attention deficit disorder: 1. Reducing distraction in the work place. 2. Giving instructions clearly - both orally and in writing. 3. Breaking large tasks down into more manageable parts. 4. Providing structure in long term tasks (checklists, deadlines for each stage, periodic meetings with supervisors). 5. Frequent and specific feedback on meeting performance expectations. 6. Accommodations in examinations (extra time, quiet room, alternative format where appropriate) and in training programs (tape recorder, repetition, time for questions). 7. Modified work schedules and job restructuring. For individuals who have physical disabilities: 1. Move clutter in hallways to give room for people who use mobility aids. 2. Install doorknobs with levers rather than round knobs. 3. Build or use portable ramps to ramp stairs. 4. Provide reserved parking near the entrance/exit that the employee uses. 5. Check lunchroom and make changes to ensure access. 6. Make sure work area is large enough for wheelchair, including turnaround space. 7. Plan training events and company social events in an accessible location. 8. Install grab bars in the restroom and, if necessary, enlarge stalls. For individuals who have chemical sensitivity: 1. Encourage a "fragrance free" work environment. 2. An office with a window that opens. 3. A well-ventilated work environment free of pollutants such as tobacco smoke, pesticides, fragrance-laden cleaning products, deodorizers, and exhaust fumes. 4. Selection of least toxic/allergenic building furnishings and supplies. 5. Pre-notification of building events such as painting or pesticide applications with provisions for alternative work arrangements. 6. Allowing the option of working at home or off site. 7. Minimizing exposure to electromagnetic fields from computers, fluorescent light ballasts, and other equipment. General notes: Reassignment is the reasonable accommodation of last resort - However, if both the employer and the employee voluntarily agree that transfer is preferable to remaining in the current position with some form of reasonable accommodation, then the employer may transfer the employee. A supervisor does not have to eliminate an essential function of a position or lower productivity standards that are applied uniformly. Remember that each situation calls for an individual assessment. Some of these accommodations are excerpts from the publication: The ADA and Reasonable Accommodations. Arizona Center for Disability Law (2-27-96).
Before you Initiate a Fitness for Duty Exam: Main Rule: Make sure that the exam is job related and consistent with business necessity. Job related and consistent with business necessity means: you have reasonable belief based on objective evidence surrounding an employee's ability to either: perform the essential job functions or pose a direct threat to themselves or others. Example: An employee with depression seeks to return to work after a FMLA leave of absence during which she was hospitalized and her medication was adjusted. In this situation the supervisor can request a fitness-for-duty examination because he has reasonable belief that her ability to perform the essential job functions may continue to be impaired by a medical condition. IMPORTANT NOTE: Limit the scope of inquiry to the employee's ability to perform the essential job functions! Inquiry into the employee's entire psychiatric history would exceed the scope of inquiry. When can you request a fitness for duty exam? Follow-up on a request for reasonable accommodation when the need for accommodation is not obvious. To address reasonable concerns based on objective evidence and/or observation that the employee is capable of performing the essential functions of a position. *When another Federal law or regulation requires it. *Must not exceed the scope of the specific medical condition and ability to perform essential job functions. This document is available in alternative formats upon request.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, Alcoholism and Drug Addiction: The ADA specifically names three conditions as being covered regardless of their severity. They are: HIV Alcoholism Drug addiction The ADA protects individuals who are recovering from drug addiction or disclose alcoholism from job discrimination. The ADA does not protect individuals who currently use drugs illegally. Tests to determine whether and/or how much alcohol an individual has consumed are considered medical exams. Urine or breath tests that detect the use of alcohol cannot be done prior to a conditional offer of employment or cannot be required of an employee unless the test is job related and required by business necessity. (Reference the "Before you Initiate a Fitness for Duty Exam" handout.) The ADA specifically permits an employer to hold employees who abuse alcohol to the same performance and conduct standards applicable to all employees, even if that employee's problems are related to the alcohol abuse. What accommodations do individuals with alcohol & drug problems need? Accommodations for individuals in recovery from a drug or alcohol problem will vary depending upon the requirements of their jobs and their length of time in recovery. Involvement in some type of continuing care program may require some accommodation. Examples of necessary accommodations could include: A modified work schedule to permit an employee to pick up their daily methadone dosage or to attend an outpatient relapse prevention counseling session. Job restructuring to relieve an employee of particular marginal tasks that may compromise recovery or be inappropriate in the early stages of recovery. Temporary reassignment of an employee in a safety-related position to a vacant non-safety sensitive position while he or she completes treatment. Some employees will need no accommodation, but simply a change in attitude regarding what an individual with a past drug or alcohol impairment can do. This document is available in alternative formats upon request.