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What is the purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Most of our readers in Minnesota know that the Americans with Disability Act is a federal law that protects workers from being subjected to discrimination it the workplace based on a physical or mental disability. But, despite the fact that this law was enacted 27 years ago, many disabled workers in Minnesota still face disability discrimination. If that is the case, what is the purpose of the ADA?

When the ADA was enacted, the United States Congress included "Findings" and "Purpose" as part of the law. With these, it would be made clear why the law was needed, and what the law hoped to accomplish. First and foremost, the Congress found that people who suffer from disability are, oftentimes, excluded from interacting with all parts of society. And yet, when this type of discrimination occurred prior to enactment of the ADA, disabled people had no law to fall back on when seeking legal options. The ADA was intended to address that deficiency, providing standards by which disabled people could seek to right the wrongs of disability discrimination.

Employers in Minnesota are required to provide reasonable accommodations to workers who are suffering from a mental or physical disability. The good news is that in today's society, perhaps as opposed to society in 1990, many employers willing to provide these accommodations.

But, unfortunately there will be times when employees in Minnesota may face discrimination in the workplace based on their disability. They may be passed up for promotions, be demoted, be harassed or their employer might refuse to provide them with reasonable accommodations. When this happens, these individuals have employee rights under the ADA that can protect them.

Source: eeoc.gov, "Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)," Accessed March 5, 2017

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