American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)

McMahon Berger’s attorneys are well versed in the law and policy of the ADA and regularly track developments to this area of the law to assist and advise employers. McMahon Berger assists employers understand what they may and should do when ADA issues arise, and its attorneys are capable of navigating the areas where ADA intersects with workers’ compensation laws, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and other state and federal laws, as well as with Collective Bargaining Agreements and workplace policies, procedures and handbooks.

What is the ADA?

Enacted in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against an individual with a “disability”, as that term is interpreted pursuant to the ADA, because of his or her alleged disability or a “perceived” disability. The ADA further requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities when such accommodations would not impose “undue hardship,” and provided that there is no direct threat to the health and safety of the employee and others which cannot be eliminated by a reasonable accommodation.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces ADA regulations covering employment. Although in recent years, the EEOC has issued a series of guidance designed to clarify and interpret provisions of the ADA, the complexity of key ADA issues, including pre-employment inquiries and medical examinations, workers’ compensation benefits, psychiatric conditions, the meaning of the term “qualified,” and the requirement that employers provide reasonable accommodations, present a challenge to many employers.

What about the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA)?

On September 25, 2008, the President signed the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008. Importantly, the ADAAA expanded the definition of disability and eliminated the efficacy of many court decisions regarding the ADA. The ADAAA also imposed greater obligations on employers with respect to the interactive process (or an interactive dialogue, during which an employer must discuss whether reasonable accommodations are available to enable persons to perform the essential functions of their job).

What if you have a question about ADA or ADAAA compliance?

McMahon Berger’s long history in representing employers and management in the areas of labor and employment law has created a wealth of knowledge that allows them to offer clients advice, training, seminars, legal updates and numerous other resources to ensure that they are kept up to date on recent legislation, regulatory activity, and court decisions impacting ADA issues. Importantly, employers must use caution to avoid disparate impacts and effects on persons protected by the ADA, and must know when they can and cannot require medical examinations. There are also significant questions concerning the interaction between the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the ADA, and McMahon Berger will do its best to assist you in answering those questions.

What if someone files suit against you under the ADA?

McMahon Berger has an outstanding record in obtaining excellent results for clients in litigation, whether in court, before administrative agencies, or in arbitration. We provide our clients pragmatic approaches to solving problems before litigation happens, and ensure that clients are fully prepared for the challenges awaiting them during litigation. More than ever, clients need cost-effective and efficient service from their attorneys, and McMahon Berger’s central location and approach to doing business puts its attorneys in a position to deliver that kind of service every day.

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