Nondisabled workers earn ADA protection, too

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Q. I know the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gives disabled employees special rights. But I read that the law also extends to employees who aren’t disabled. How is that so? —N.L.

A. While the ADA prohibitions against discrimination protect qualified individuals with disabilities, the law’s restrictions on inquiries and examinations apply to all employees. Thus, any employee—disabled or not—has the right to challenge an employer’s disability-related inquiry or medical examination that is not job-related and consistent with business necessity.

A disability-related inquiry or employee medical exam is job-related and consistent with business necessary only when the employer has a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that:

  1. An employee’s ability to perform an essential job function will be impaired by a medical condition; or
  2. An employee will pose a direct threat due to a medical condition.

In addition, if the employee’s disability isn’t known or obvious, your disability-related inquiries and medical exams that follow the employee’s accommodation request may be job-related and consistent with business necessity.

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