The Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of an actual or perceived disability (RI Gen. Laws. Sec. 28-5-5 et seq.). The law applies to all employers doing business in the state.
“Disability” is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment (RI Gen. Laws Sec. 28-5-6(5)).
Like the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rhode Island law prohibits employers from basing a decision regarding hiring, promotion, compensation, discharge, or any other term or condition of employment on the knowledge or perception that a person has a disability. Employers are also prohibited from using application or testing procedures that tend to screen out applicants with disabilities and are required to offer reasonable accommodations to allow employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of their jobs. Retaliation against any person for filing a discrimination complaint or participating in the investigation or hearing of a discrimination claim is prohibited.