The Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits private employers with four or more employees from discriminating against employees or applicants on the basis of a disability (RI Gen. Laws Sec. 28-5-1 et seq). The Civil Rights of People with Disabilities Act applies to all state employers and prohibits employment practices that discriminate against otherwise qualified individuals with a disability (RI Gen. Laws Sec. 42-87-1 et seq.).
"Disability" defined. Individuals with a disability include those who:
- Have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
- Have a record of such an impairment
- Are regarded by others as having such an impairment
- Have any disability that is provided protection under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act(ADA) and federal regulations pertaining to the Act (RI Gen. Laws Sec. 28-5-6(4); Sec. 42-87-1 et seq.)
"Physical or mental impairment" defined. Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, hemic, lymphatic, skin, endocrine, or any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities (RI Gen. Laws Sec. 28-5-6(4)(iii)).
"Major life activities" defined. A disability that substantially limits major life activities or impairs the individual's ability to care for himself or herself, perform manual tasks, or walk, see, hear, speak, breathe, learn, and work.
"Otherwise qualified" ...