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Hiring People with Disabilities

Myths & Facts About the ADA and Work

MYTH: Hiring employees with disabilities increase workers compensation
insurance rates.
FACT: Not true. Insurance rates are based solely on the relative hazards of the operation and the organization’s accident experience.
MYTH: People with disabilities can only do light work.
FACT: People with disabilities work successfully in a wide variety of industries and professions.
MYTH: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) forces business and government to spend lots of money hiring unqualified people.
FACT: No unqualified job applicant or employee with a disability can claim employment discrimination under the ADA. Employees must meet all the requirements of the job and perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. No accommodation must be provided if it would result in an undue hardship on the employer.
MYTH: Accommodating workers with disabilities costs too much.
FACT: Reasonable accommodation is usually far less expensive than many people think. In most cases, an appropriate reasonable accommodation can be made without difficulty and at little or no cost.
MYTH: Everyone claims to be covered under the ADA.
FACT: The definition of "individual with a disability" is fraught with conditions and must be applied on a case-by-case basis.
MYTH: The ADA protects people who are overweight.
FACT: Just being overweight is not enough. Modifications in policies only must be made if they are _reasonable_ and do not fundamentally alter the nature of the program or service provided. The Department has received only a handful of complaints about obesity.
MYTH: The ADA is being misused by people with "bad backs" and "emotional problems."
FACT: Trivial complaints do not make it through the system. And many claims filed by individuals with such conditions are not trivial. There are people with severe depression or people with a history of alcoholism who are judged by their employers, not on the basis of their abilities, but rather upon stereotypes and fears that employers associate with their conditions.