As the leader in disability insurance,4 Unum provides claims handling, return-to-work and stay-at-work services, and ADA and leave management solutions and support that assist employers in realizing the human and economic gains inherent in the principles of the ADA and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). See the "Interplay between the ADA and the Family and Medical Leave Act" section on page 16 for more information regarding these services.
In addition to the need for compliance with the ADA, your business location‘s professionals should be aware of states’ civil rights laws that protect disabled individuals from employment discrimination. A few states provide higher levels of protection than the ADA for disabled individuals, such as more generous definitions of disability, pregnancy protections, or treatment of people in drug rehabilitation programs. In addition to state law, there are other laws providing protection to disabled individuals such as the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Civil Rights Act of 1964. Work with your own legal counsel to make sure you all understand your responsibilities under both state and federal non-discrimination laws.
What the law does
Congress designed the ADA to provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities and to include the broadest number of people for protection under the law. Congress explicitly stated that physical and mental disabilities in no way diminish a person’s right to fully participate in all aspects of society, but that people with physical or mental disabilities are frequently precluded from doing so because of prejudice, antiquated attitudes or the failure to remove societal and institutional barriers.
Because the ADA is designed to eliminate discrimination based on stereotyping, misinformation and personal preference, Congress intended that the ADA:
How the ADA is organized
Title V also applies to the employment context by:
This handbook does not cover the three other titles, which generally do not apply to the worksite: public services, public accommodations and services operated by private entities (to make their goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages and accommodations available to people with disabilities) and telecommunications.
Every employee must have access to information about his or her rights under the law. If your business is covered under the ADA, you are required to post notices — available from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) — describing the applicable provisions so that applicants, employees and others are aware of their rights.
It is important to establish a culture of compliance with the ADA. Integrating the spirit and principles of the ADA into your business operations allows your organization to retain valuable resources — employees who develop disabilities — and to attract new talent that may or may not have disabilities. Training your managers on ADA issues is an important step toward compliance.