Like other employers, the federal government (including all agencies of the federal government) is prohibited from discriminating against employees and job candidates on the basis of a physical or mental disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is one of the several federal laws designed to protect individuals with disabilities against disability-based employment decisions, harassment, and lack of reasonable accommodations. The ADA and other laws apply to federal employees who:
- Have physical or mental disabilities that substantially limit their ability to ambulate, learn, or communicate;
- Have a history of disability (such as an illness that is in remission); or,
- Are perceived to have a physical or mental disability that is not both transitory (expected to last six months or less) and minor.
Like other types of employment discrimination, disability discrimination can take many forms. It is unlawful for federal agencies to make employment-related decisions based upon an employee’s qualifying disability. It is also unlawful for federal employers to engage in or permit harassment of employees that targets their disabilities. The government must also provide reasonable accommodations to help individuals with disabilities apply for jobs and perform their job duties, including changes to both work environments and established policies and procedures.
If you believe that you have been subjected to unlawful disability discrimination, we can help. Led by firm founder George Melville Johnson, our legal team brings well over 30 years of experience to representing federal employees in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claims and federal appeals. We have handled thousands of cases, securing favorable results at the agency level, in federal district and appellate courts around the country, and even at the U.S. Supreme Court. We know what it takes to help federal employees protect their rights; and, if you have been denied an opportunity with the government or been subjected to improper treatment at work, we can help you take back what you deserve.
“My case was a federal employment disability annuity and disability discrimination case. These guys settled both parts. I am in Montana, they are in Atlanta. I am happy.” – Verified Review by a Federal Employee
Understanding Your Rights: Federal Disability Discrimination FAQs
Q: Do the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) apply to federal employees?
Yes. Under Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, which was signed into law in 1973, the ADA applies to all federal sector employees.
Q: What constitutes a “reasonable accommodation” for a physical or mental disability?
In each case, what constitutes a reasonable accommodation depends on the nature of the federal employee’s disability, his or her job responsibilities, and the current condition of his or her work location. For example, it may be necessary to make modifications to existing facilities for an individual with a physical disability, while someone who has a disabling illness may require more frequent breaks or a modified work schedule.
What is reasonable for one employee will not necessarily be reasonable for another. If your needs have not been met, we encourage you to contact us to discuss whether you should file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Q: What types of physical and mental impairments are considered qualifying disabilities under the ADA?
Qualifying disabilities under the ADA fall into two categories. Under Section 1630.2(h) of the ADA’s implementing regulations, covered physical and mental impairments include:
(1) Any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems, such as neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, immune, circulatory, hemic, lymphatic, skin, and endocrine; or
(2) Any mental or psychological disorder, such as an intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
Q: What types of employment-related decisions can lead to claims under the ADA?
Any employment-related decision has the potential to lead to a claim under the ADA if it is based on a federal employee’s or job candidate’s qualifying disability. This includes decisions regarding:
- Job assignments
- Advancement opportunities
- Pay and benefits
- Firing or layoff
- Other terms and conditions of employment
Schedule a Confidential Consultation at Melville Johnson, P.C.
With offices in Atlanta, the employment attorneys at Melville Johnson, P.C. represent federal employees in disability discrimination cases nationwide. If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys about your rights under the ADA, we encourage you to contact us for a confidential consultation. To schedule an appointment at your convenience, please call (888) 594-0424 or request a case evaluation online today.