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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:36 pm
If you're disabled and are qualified to perform a particular job, the American Disabilities Act, also known as ADA (A-D-A), protects you from any employment discrimination based on your disability. The ADA not only makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in the hiring and firing of qualified disabled workers, but also prohibits discrimination in all employment practices such as recruitment, job assignments, promotions, benefits, and pay. In addition, employers can't ask job applicants questions about past or current medical conditions or require job applicants to take medical exams. Companies must also create or maintain work sites without substantial physical barriers to the movement of people with physical disabilities. In other words, as long as disabled individuals are able to perform the essential functions of a job, they're entitled to ask for some form of reasonable accommodation, such as wheelchair access, a voice-activated computer, or a customized workspace. All companies with 15 or more employees must adhere to ADA regulations, including private employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations. Under the ADA, you're considered to have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Examples include a cosmetic disfigurement, loss of a limb, or a psychological disorder. If you think you've been discriminated against on the basis of a disability, you should contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. You may have up to 300 days to file a charge if there's a state or local law that provides relief for discrimination on the basis of disability. If a court sides in your favor, you're entitled to a remedy that will place you in the position you would have been in if the discrimination had never occurred, including promotion, reinstatement, back pay, or reasonable accommodation. You may also be entitled to attorney's fees.

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