The Americans with Disabilities Act makes it illegal to discriminate against disabled people in all areas of life, including jobs. This Act also makes it illegal to discriminate against an individual based on their relationship with a disabled individual. This may sound simple, but the truth is that many people do not understand the meaning of disability in the context of the ADA. Many people do not understand what qualifies as a disability under the ADA.
Are you wondering what the term “disability” means in the context of the ADA? Are you wondering if your disability qualifies under the Americans with Disabilities Act? If you are, you have come to the right place. Below, we discuss what the term “disability” means in the context of the ADA and what qualifies as a disability under the ADA.
How Does the ADA Define the Term “Disability?”
You should understand that the word “disability” in the context of the Americans with Disabilities Act is a legal one. How the ADA describes the term disability is not the same as how other laws describe the same term. For example, how you would describe disability for purposes of Social Security Disability benefits is not the same way the ADA does.
So, what is the meaning of the term “disability” in the context of the Americans with Disabilities Act? Under the ADA, someone is considered to have a disability if they have a mental or physical impairment that limits a major activity or major activities to a large extent. If a person had such impairment in the past, they are considered disabled under the ADA. Also, if a person does not have a disability but is regarded as having one, the ADA considers them disabled.
So, what is a physical or mental impairment? What are major life activities? Also, what does “regarded as” having a disability mean? A physical impairment is a medical condition that affects the body. It could be respiratory, neurological, or musculoskeletal. On the other hand, mental impairment is when someone has a mental or cognitive disorder. It can include an intellectual disability or mental illness. It can also include some learning disabilities. According to the ADA, a major life activity is any activity that is important to people’s daily lives, such as breathing, walking, hearing, talking, sleeping, performing manual tasks, and working. And regarding what it means to be “regarded as” having a disability, the ADA provides three instances where such a scenario may arise. They are;
- If a person has an impairment that doesn’t restrict them to a large extent;
- If a person has an impairment that restricts them only because of other people’s attitudes toward them;
- If a person doesn’t have an impairment but is treated by an entity like they have an impairment.
Some common conditions typically covered under the ADA include the following;
- AIDS and HIV
- Bipolar disorder
Legal Help is Available
If you need help determining whether you are considered disabled under the ADA, contact our skilled New Jersey employment lawyer at The Trabosh Law Firm.