Balancing the ADA with Safety

Balancing the ADA with Safety

The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which was amended on January 1, 2009, requires employers to reasonably accommodate qualified individuals (employees and potential employees) with disabilities. 42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(5)(A). The ADA further prohibits any discrimination against qualified individuals that adversely affects the individual’s terms and conditions of employment (hiring, promotion, compensation, training, etc.). Id. § 12112(a). Often times conflict may arise between an employer’s obligations under the ADA and its obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSH Act”) to provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees which may require the employee to comply with safety policies and the employee’s inability to do so because of a physical or mental impairment. This article will discuss recent legal developments addressing this potential legal conflict.

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