District of Columbia Disabilities (ADA) laws & HR compliance analysis

District of Columbia Disabilities (ADA): What you need to know

The District of Columbia Human Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate based on an actual or perceived disability (DC Code Sec. 2-1401.01 et seq.). The law covers all employers in the District regardless of size. Applicants, employees, and unpaid interns are considered “employees” under the law.
A separate law (DC Code Sec. 7-1005) also protects individuals with blindness or other physical disabilities, unless the particular disability prevents the performance of the job in question.
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The term “disability” means:
• A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
• Having a record of such an impairment
• Being regarded by others as having such an impairment
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compared. Although the ADA has similar provisions to the District's law, a person is “regarded as” having a disability under the ADA if he or she is subjected to an adverse employment action (e.g., demotion or firing) because of an actual or perceived impairment. The impairment is notrequired to substantially limit a major life activity in order to meet the definition of a regarded as disability. Additional information is available.
Employers must provide reasonable accommodation for an applicant or employee's disability, unless to do so would impose an undue business hardship. Such accommodation may include making facilities accessible, job restructuring, modifying work schedules or equipment, and modifying job descriptions.
Undue hardship. Factors considered when determining undue hardship include the nature and cost of the change; the number of people who may benefit from the change (for example, the number of ...

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