Laws and regulations

There are lots of laws and regulations related to employment.

We'll break down some of the key laws for you here, and link to more resources at the end.

Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act:

If you are a federal contractor or subcontractor, you need to actively recruit, hire, promote, and retain qualified individuals with disabilities. There are reporting requirements to make sure you're doing these activities.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act:

If you receive any type of funding from the federal government, you can't discriminate on the basis of disability

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)- for employers with 25 or more employees:

  • You can't discriminate against qualified employees or job applicants

  • To be qualified, the individual with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodations

  • A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment to the job or work environment to allow that qualified employee or applicant with a disability to hold that position. You aren't required to provide an accommodation that would cause undue hardship(i.e., cause the business to go bankrupt)Some examples of accommodations: making the building accessible, modifying work schedules, providing sign language interpreters

  • You are only required to provide a reasonable accommodation if you know about the disability. If the employee or applicant never told you about it, you aren't expected to automatically provide an accommodation.

  • If the applicant isn't qualified for the job in the first place, you are not required to find them a position somewhere in your organization

  • Medical exams- you can't require them before offering someone a job. You can only require a medical exam after offering a position if you require it of all new employees in that same job category.

Learn more:

There are lots of resources to answer your questions and give you things to think about during the hiring process. One of your go-to resources is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) - an agency specifically dedicated to workplace discrimination.

Visit the EEOC's FAQ Page for answers to common questions and resources .

You can also call the EEOC and they will provide guidance on your specific question:(202) 663-4691. The EEOC staff is available to help you address any issues that might come up in the workplace - so use the resource!

 

Click on the boxes below for some resources to help you learn more:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)'s concise Q&A document explains your responsibilities under federal employment discrimination laws.

  • This is a good first resource.

  • The EEOC also has a helpline to provide assistance on your specific questions. The EEOC staff is available to help you address any issues that might come up in the workplace - so utilize the resource! (202) 663-4691.

Other resources:

Guidance on Reasonable Accommodations:


Sources: U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, U.S. Department of Labor - Office of Disability Employment Policy

One big area of concern is firing or disciplining someone with a disability.

The EEOC provides guidelines, including the following:

  • Ensure that disciplinary and termination decisions are not based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, disability, age (40 or older), or genetic information (including family medical history).

  • Ensure that disciplinary and termination decisions are not based on an employee's decision to report discrimination, participate in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit, or oppose discrimination (for example, threatening to file a discrimination complaint).

  • Ensure that the decision to discipline or fire the employee is consistent with your discipline policy, or that you can justify treating the employee differently.

  • For example, your discipline policy may state that employees who are absent from work without authorization for three days will receive a warning. You may decide to waive the warning for an otherwise reliable employee who missed three days of work because of an unexpected family emergency.

  • Consider documenting the reason(s) for the discipline or termination.

    • This may help you defend your business if a discrimination charge or complaint is filed.

  • To prevent misunderstandings, it may be helpful to explain the reason(s) for the discipline or termination decision to the employee.

  • Respond promptly and effectively to discrimination complaints regarding disciplinary action

  • Retain any disciplinary records as required by law.

    • If an EEOC charge of discrimination is filed, keep relevant records until the charge is resolved.

How to learn more:

Visit the EEOC's Q&A page on Discipline and Firing Employees for additional links and resources discussing the bullet points above.

You can also call the EEOC and they will provide guidance on your specific question:(202) 663-4691. The EEOC staff is available to help you address any issues that might come up in the workplace - so use the resource!


Source: EEOC

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