Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

The Basics

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the most important law that protects the rights of people with disabilities and allows them to be productive members of the workforce.

The ADA is a large and rather complicated law that makes it illegal for employers, state and local governments, public accommodations, and transportation and telecommunication agencies to discriminate against people with disabilities. Specifically, Title I of the ADA applies to employers and how they must treat applicants and employees with disabilities. It allows you to get reasonable accommodations for your disability at any stage of the application process, after you are offered a job, and during your employment.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires private employers with 50 or more employees and all state, local, and federal government employers to give employees up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave a year for specific reasons. To take the leave, you must have recently had a child, have a serious health condition, or be taking care of a family member with a serious health condition. In these situations, any time you take from work must be “job-protected,” which means that at the end of your leave, you must be allowed to return to your original job or be given another job that is similar. The FMLA also requires that your employer continue to give you group health benefits during your leave.

This article discusses these laws and how you can make sure that your rights are respected.

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