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 on the basis of an actual or perceived disability (DC Code Sec. 2-1401.01 et seq.). The law covers all employers in the District regardless of size. 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, amendments broadened the way courts are likely to interpret the ADA's definition of "disability." In addition, the amendments changed the ADA's definition of a "regarded as" disability. Under the amended ADA, a person is regarded as having an ADA disability 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 does not have 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 ...

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