Employment Rights of People with Disabilities

Employment Rights 

Basic information about employment rights.

The ADA: Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability
If you have a disability and are qualified to do a job, the ADA protects you from job discrimination on the basis of your disability. Under the ADA, you have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. The ADA also protects you if you have a history of such a disability, or if an employer believes that you have such a disability, even if you don’t.

To be protected under the ADA, you must have, have a record of, or be regarded as having a substantial, as opposed to a minor, impairment. A substantial impairment is one that significantly limits or restricts a major life activity.   Hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, learning or working are examples.

If you have a disability, you must also be qualified to perform the essential functions or duties of a job, with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to be protected from job discrimination by the ADA. This means two things. First, you must satisfy the employer’s requirements for the job, such as education, employment experience, skills or licenses. Second, you must be able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. Essential functions are the fundamental job duties that you must be able to perform on your own or with the help of a reasonable accommodation. An employer cannot refuse to hire you because your disability prevents you from performing duties that are not essential to the job.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Disability Discrimination 
Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended, or the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant unfavorably because she has a disability.

Employment Rights of Individuals with Disabilities 
Information from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.

Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) Employment First 
Individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination in employment primarily by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. Employment First is a movement to deliver meaningful employment, fair wages, and career advancement for people with disabilities.

ADA Policy and Law
EmploymentFirstMA.org has information for employers, job seekers, employees and employment agencies. EmploymentFirst is presented by the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston and is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services.

Fact Sheet last updated on: 6/13/2021