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California Employment Lawyers > Blog > Employment > Things You Didn’t Know About How The ADA Protects Your Employment

Things You Didn’t Know About How The ADA Protects Your Employment


Many people are aware that the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) protects you from being fired, or from suffering any adverse consequences at work, because of a disability, illness or disease. But what many people don’t know is how broad or how many different things the ADA protects.

Here are things that most employees don’t know about the ADA-and how it can protect them in the workplace

  1. It’s Not Black or White – You may think you either have a disability that qualifies for protection under the ADA, or you don’t. But the ADA is not that black and white. The question is often how the disability affects you.

With almost any type of disease, different people can have the disease with different severity, and even the same severity of illness can affect different people in different ways. To get protection under the ADA, it’s not always what disease or disability you have—it’s whether it affects your ability to do your job that dictates whether your employer must make accommodations for you.

  1. Medicine Doesn’t Disqualify You – The ADA will still cover and protect you, even if you are taking medicine that lessens, or reduces the effects or frequency of your illness or disability. Your employer cannot refuse to accommodate you, just because a medicine you are taking masks, lessens, hides, or improves your condition or disabilities.
  2. You are Protected, Even in Remission – Many diseases can go into remission. Some are even episodic, like epilepsy. Some people with a given illness will go for extended periods of time with no symptoms at all.

The ADA still covers and protects you—the question is whether the disability would affect a major life activity or your ability to perform your job, when the disease is at its worst—it doesn’t matter that there are times when you may be fine.

  1. The Label Doesn’t Matter – It’s not the name of the disability or illness that counts. The only question is whether the disease or disability would limit your ability to perform a major life activity or interfere with your body’s organs.
  2. Perception Matters – The ADA will cover you even for a disability that is “perceived as disabled,” so long as when it is at its worst, your disease limits major life activities or bodily functions. So, for example, someone with HIV who is fully functional may still be “perceived as disabled,” and thus, covered under the ADA, given that at its worst, HIV can limit bodily functions.
  3. Medicine Side Effects Count – In many cases, people’s disease may not have a significant impact on their life—but the medicine they need to take to keep the disease or illness at bay, does. Regardless of whether your disability qualifies you under the ADA, if medicines that you take for your disability qualify you as disabled as defined by the ADA, you are protected and covered.

Contact the San Jose employment law lawyers at the Costanzo Law Firm today for help if you feel you are being discriminated against at work because of an illness or disability.




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