MODULE 16 Writing Assignment
Group 1, 2, and 3 members
ADA considers a few categories of people with disabilities. One is people with physical disabilities. A physical impairment is considered as an anatomic loss, a physiological disorder, or a cosmetic disfigurement that affects body systems such as musculoskeletal, respiratory, neurological, reproductive, skin, digestive, special-sense organs, cardiovascular, and genitourinary systems. The other category is people with mental disabilities (U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002). These include mental or psychological disorders such as mental retardation, learning disabilities, mental or emotional illness, and organic brain syndrome. Among the covered physical and mental disabilities under ADA include epilepsy, visual impairments, diabetes, HIV, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, heart disease, speech, and hearing impairments, and muscular dystrophy.
For an impairment to be considered as a disability under the ADA, it must limit at least one major life activity. Temporal and short-term disabilities that have limited or short-term effects are not covered under the ADA. Some of the people who are not covered are those suffering from flu, compulsive gambling, pregnancy, sprained joint, homosexuality and poor judgment. However, in some case, pregnancy related impairments are recognized as a disability under the ADA. Some conditions such as stress and depression are only considered impairments if they result from job pressures or if they result from a documented physiological or mental disorder (U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002). The ADA does not cover people who are currently using illegal drugs. Drug addiction is not considered a disability. Discriminations based on various lifestyles is not protected under the ADA.
In the Carothers v. Cnty. of Cook, 808 F.3d 1140 (7th Cir. 2015), the plaintiff argued that her anxiety condition was a disability. The defendant wanted clarification on whether the condition was recognized as a disability under the ADA. The hearing officer who developed the anxiety condition after a dispute with an inmate claimed that the condition prevented her from relating with juvenile detainees. The court held that under the ADA, the anxiety condition was not a disability since it did not limit the plaintiff from performing essential functions (Kuczynski, n.d.). The condition only limited her from performing a single specific job.
Group 2, 3, and 4 members
Under the ADA, the term qualified means having education, experience, and legitimate skills among other requirements of a given employment position. To be qualified includes being able to execute essential functions of that given position whether there is reasonable accommodation or not (Roessler & Rumrill, 2018). Requiring an individual to execute essential functions ensures that a person with a disability is not considered as unqualified because of their inability (U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002). Being qualified enables people with disabilities to be protected by the ADA from any form of discrimination in the working environment. It ensures that such people enjoy equal employment opportunities just as other employees without any disabilities.
Essential functions refer to basic duties that an employee is allocated. They include things that a person in a given position must be able to perform. An individual must be able to perform these duties whether given reasonable accommodation or not (Roessler & Rumrill, 2018). Even though employees with disabilities are protected from discrimination under the ADA, employers don’t have an obligation to employ people who cannot perform a job. With or without disability, employees must be able to perform essential functions. With or without qualifications such as experience, education, and license, a disabled person to be protected under the ADA, they must be able to perform essential functions (U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002). An employee who cannot perform a really essential job is not legally qualified for that job.
Employers determine whether functions are essential or not. Other things considered in determining whether a function is essential or not include job descriptions, and time spent in performing a duty (U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002). Under the ADA, the following factors should also be considered in determining when a function is essential or not; the terms involved in the collective bargaining agreement, the working experience of people holding similar positions, and the impacts of not necessitating an employee to do the function.
In the case of Nathan v. Holder, 2013 WL 3965241 (E.E.O.C. July 19, 2013), the plaintiff complained of the application being rejected for an FBI special agent position even when he was qualified. The defendant argued that the plaintiff was unable to perform essential functions due to the monocular vision. The court found that the agency did not provide an individualized assessment that would help in determining whether the plaintiff could execute the essential functions (Kuczynski, n.d.). Lack of the individualized assessment made the agency unable to prove whether the plaintiff could pose any direct threat to the agency.
Groups 3, 4, and 5 members
A reasonable accommodation refers to any change in the working place or to a position, or any assistance that enables an individual employee to execute their duty regardless of having a disability. Most importantly is that this individual employee qualifies and their disability is recognized by state laws under ADA (Roessler & Rumrill, 2018). Under the ADA, employers are expected to make adjustments or modifications in the way things are normally done, to enable qualified individuals with a disability to enjoy equal opportunities in a working environment (U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002). For instance, an employer can adjust the height of an office desk to accommodate a disabled employer in a wheelchair.
Effective execution of duties in the hotel industry is required for desired results. This section identifies four different disabilities and identifies a reasonable accommodation for each.In the booking department, there is an employee who receives calls on booking reservations in the hotel. The employee be provided with a TTY for calling a relay service operator who will then place telephone calls and communicate the dialog between parties. The accommodation is reasonable because TTY is commonly used in facilitating communication for individuals with hearing impairments (U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002). Additionally, the accommodation will enable the employee to execute her duties.
In the cleaning department, there is an employee who suffers from a psychiatric disability. In the hotel, the cleaning staffs are rotated to various floors monthly. Due to the mental illness, which happens not to affect the ability to execute the cleaning duties, the employee finds it challenging to adjust to the changes in his routine. In this case, the employee will be allowed to permanently work on one floor. The accommodation is reasonable because it addresses the problem of adjusting to the changes and it enables him to execute the cleaning duties (U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002).
One of the cashiers in the hotel suffers from lupus. The cashier is easily fatigued limiting her abilities throughout her shift. The hotel will provide a stool since sitting is associated with less fatigue for individuals with the disability. A stool is reasonable because it is a common solution to a working barrier that requires staff to stand when working even when working seated is more effective (U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002). Additionally, the accommodation is effective because it will address the problem and allow the employee to execute her duties.
One of the supervisors of gymnasium activities suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The disability makes it difficult for the employee to be effective in the supervisory roles leading to poor performance. The hotel will fulfil its obligation of providing a reasonable accommodation for the employee (U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002). This will involve restructuring the job by reassigning the employee to a different function in the same position. The accommodation is reasonable as it will reduce the noise that limits the abilities of the employee. Additionally, it will enable him to perform the supervisory duties effectively.
Various factors can make an employer to deny accommodation requests to employees or applicants. Undue hardship limits an employer from providing reasonable accommodation. If an accommodation would result in undue hardship then it would be impossible to provide it to an employee or a job applicant (U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002). Second, if an employee or an applicant requests a reasonable accommodation yet their disability is not legally recognized under ADA, then they request will be denied (Roessler & Rumrill, 2018). Other grounds to deny an accommodation request include; lack of necessary documents. If an employer fails to provide documents from medical professionals proving that their condition qualify as a disability then their request can be denied. Additionally, an accommodation that requires removal of essential functions is unreasonable and thus should be denied. Otherwise, an employer has a duty under ADA to grant qualified employee’s requests for a reasonable accommodation.
Kuczynski, C. (n.d.). Recent Cases under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, pp. 1-40.
Roessler, R. & Rumrill, P. (2018). The Win-Win Approach to Reasonable Accommodations. National MS Society, pp. 1-34.
U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (2002). Enforcement Guidance:
Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Available at https://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/accommodation.html