Disabilities Recognized Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

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Disabilities Recognized Under the Americans with Disabilities Act


Millions of Americans have a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) exists to protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination. There are various areas that offer protection, including employment, places of public accommodation, state and local government services, transportation and telecommunications. In terms of places of employment, the ADA covers all employers that have at least 15 employees. It covers privately owned businesses as well as those within state and local governments. The protections also extend to labor organizations and employment agencies. When the ADA is violated in any way, a disability discrimination lawyer can help to protect the individual’s rights. Disability discrimination in the workplace, for example, is illegal, and a person with disabilities can retain an experienced attorney to fight back.

Who Does the Americans with Disabilities Act Protect?

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects all individuals who have a disability. A person is considered to have a disability when the following criteria applies to them:
  • The individual has a physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities to a substantial degree
  • The individual has a record of their impairment
  • The individual is regarded as having the impairment
Generally speaking, the ADA considers impairment as being in its most severe form. If a person is only occasionally impaired, the ADA looks at when their symptoms most often manifest. There are two components that make up having a disability. They include the following:
  • The individual must have a physical or mental impairment
  • The impairment must substantially prevent the person from performing major activities

Physical or Mental Impairments

In order to be considered by the ADA as having a disability, a person must have either a physical or mental impairment. However, not all conditions that prevent people from performing activities qualifies as an impairment. The ADA has a broad definition of what constitutes a disability. A physical impairment is a condition, medical disorder or loss that adversely affects the body. The following are examples:
  • Cardiovascular
  • Circulatory
  • Digestive
  • Endocrine
  • Genitourinary
  • Hemic
  • Immune
  • Lymphatic
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neurological
  • Reproductive
  • Respiratory, including speech organs
  • Special sense organs
Any mental or psychological disorder qualifies as a mental impairment. This includes mental deficiency, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, organic brain syndrome and mental illness.

What Conditions Qualify for the ADA as Physical or Mental Impairments?

There are a number of physical and mental impairments that are covered by the ADA. They include the following:
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Alcoholism
  • Asthma
  • Blindness and other visual impairments
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Hearing impairments
  • Heart Disease
  • Loss of body parts
  • Migraines
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Orthopedic impairments
  • Paralysis
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Speech impairments
  • Thyroid gland disorders
  • Tuberculosis
Temporary or short-term impairments that leave very little to no lasting effects generally do not qualify under the ADA. Additionally, the ADA doesn’t protect against discrimination based on lifestyles. For example, being addicted to drugs is not considered a disability, whether the drugs in question are illicit or prescription.

What are Considered Major Life Activities?

Major life activities are those that require the operation of any major bodily function. Even basic everyday things can fall under the category, such as sleeping, eating, standing, walking, talking, dressing, bathing, shaving, preparing a meal, thinking, learning, interacting and working. If there is a substantial limit to performing these basic functions, a person can be considered disabled under the ADA.

What Factors are Considered in Determining if an Impairment is Substantially Limiting?

There are certain factors that can determine whether a person’s impairment is substantially limiting. They include the following:
  • The amount of time, effort or difficulty it takes for the individual to perform a major life activity
  • The pain the person experiences in performing a major life activity
  • How the impairment affects the way a major bodily function operates
Working as a Major Life Activity Working is part of the list of major life activities, according to the ADA. In some cases, an impairment may prevent a person from doing some part of a job. Sometimes, a person can be substantially limited when it comes to working. Certain classes jobs involve the type of work or duties that include heavy lifting or standing for hours at a time. A person cannot claim they are substantially limited if they are no longer able to perform a specific type of job. However, if a person has experienced disability discrimination in the workplace or are denied employment for a position they are well qualified for, they have the legal right to retain a disability discrimination lawyer. A Los Angeles employment lawyer can advise regarding the ADA and the rights the person has pertaining to the workplace. If you have experienced workplace discrimination due to a disability, the best disability discrimination attorney Los Angeles has to offer can help you to take legal action. Contact the Law Offices of Mann and Elias to speak with an experienced disability discrimination attorney Los Angeles based. A Los Angeles employment lawyer will discuss with you the best course of action to take in your case.
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