The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Title I: Employment

Reference Number: MTAS-1048
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: February 21, 2017
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The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against a qualified person who has a disability. This protection extends to applicants as well as employees. Title I requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal employment opportunities commensurate to that of others. The law requires that employers make reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities.

ADA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Justice. Title I complaints must be filed within 180 days of the date of discrimination or 300 days if the charge is filed with a designated state or local fair employment practice agency. The new law makes it clear that the focus should be on “accommodating employees and applicants” and not the impairment itself from which the individual suffers. Employers should not need extensive analysis to determine if a condition qualifies under ADA.

ADA does not say your city has to give preference to those with disabilities, or hire someone who is not qualified to perform the essential functions of the job. ADA simply gives a qualified person with a disability the same opportunity as a qualified person without a disability. This protection covers all aspects of the employment process, including:

  • application process
  • assignments
  • benefits
  • compensation
  • disciplinary actions
  • evaluation
  • hiring
  • layoff/recall
  • leave
  • medical examinations
  • promotion
  • termination
  • testing
  • training
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