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How the ADA impacts worker-employer relationships

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1980 to give disabled workers in Texas and around the country greater rights. The ADA stipulates that employers must make reasonable accommodations to such workers to help them earn and keep a job. While this requirement has been a boost for those with disabilities, there are questions as to what constitutes a reasonable accommodation.

As a general rule, employers are not allowed to take discriminatory actions or work with others to discriminate against an employee. Furthermore, employers are not allowed to deny a qualified worker a job or a benefit simply because that person has a disability. However, employers may not have to provide an accommodation if it causes undue hardship to them. An undue hardship could occur if an accommodation is too costly or costs too much for a business to handle.

The law also doesn't specify which party is supposed to ask for the accommodation. As a general rule, it may be a good idea for both the employer and the employee to work together in an effort to make required accommodations. In such a scenario, the employer should take the more active role in working around an employee's disability.

It may be worthwhile for a disabled worker or any other employee to seek legal counsel if their rights may have been violated. An attorney may be able to review the case to determine if an employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act or any other applicable employment law. Employees may be entitled to back pay and other compensation if they are victims of wrongful termination. While an individual has the right to a formal trial, a settlement in the case may be negotiated outside of court.

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