Alert Supervisors to Little-Known Association-Bias Law — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Alert Supervisors to Little-Known Association-Bias Law

Get PDF file

by on
in Human Resources

By now, your supervisors know it's illegal to discriminate against someone because of his or her disability. But do they also know about a less obvious part of the ADA that makes it illegal to discriminate against people because they have an association with a person who has a disability?

For example, it's illegal to: 

  • Fire or refuse to hire someone because of an unfounded fear that he or she will be excessively absent or unproductive due to caring for a disabled child, or a fear that he or she will acquire a medical condition from a family member or friend.
  • Fire or refuse to hire (or deny benefits to) someone because of concern that an employee's association with individuals with disabilities will hurt the organization's image. (Example: discriminating against someone who volunteers with AIDS patients.)  
  • Refuse to provide health insurance for an employee's family member with a disability when you generally provide health insurance for employee dependents. 

Note: Employees are more sensitive to association bias now that the EEOC just published a Q&A fact sheet that explains this ADA provision. Read a copy at

Leave a Comment


Previous post:

Next post: