Louisiana employers will often be the target of allegations that they have committed a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and this can lead to a lawsuit from the person who makes the claim. The ADA is designed to protect people who are disabled by giving them the same opportunity to work as those who are not disabled. That said, employers are not obligated to hire people who are disabled. They are simply required to consider them. There are factors that regulate alterations to the workplace to accommodate a disabled person. It is imperative for employers to understand how this law works to be shielded from unfair lawsuits.

If a disabled applicant seeks employment and is unqualified for it, he or she cannot claim they were discriminated against due to the disability. To be protected by the ADA, the person must be qualified to do the job. If not, there is no violation. Employers are not obligated to hire a person who is disabled if there are several qualified applicants for the job and one happens to have a disability. For example, if the job is one that requires speed and accuracy, they can hire the person who has those attributes.

Employers should be fully aware of what reasonable accommodations entails. These are designed to make certain that the qualified person with a disability has rights that are equal to those who are not disabled. It is a modification to the employment area so the disabled person can do it, but not a modification to the job itself. Smaller businesses are not required to adhere to the reasonable accommodations portion of the ADA if they have fewer than 15 employees as this might cause an undue hardship to the employer. Employers have the right to dismiss a disabled person and it will not violate the ADA. The firing must be due to the following: it is not connected to the disability; the employee does not meet the criteria for the job; or the employee’s disability threatens the health or safety of the workplace.

There is often a perception that failing to hire a disabled person, not accommodating them or dismissing them is the act of a cold and callous employer and a clear violation of the ADA. That is not the case. Employers who are accused of violating employment law in this way should know their rights and hire a qualified legal professional to provide a defense.

Source: dol.gov, “Employers and the ADA: Myths and Facts,” accessed on Aug. 29, 2017