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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who are “disabled.” It also requires employers to give disabled employees a reasonable accommodation, so long as it does not pose an undue hardship on the employer.

After the ADA was passed in 1990, there were numerous federal court decisions that made it difficult for employees to prove that they were “disabled” within the meaning of the law. Since the courts did not correctly determine the meaning of the law, Congress corrected these court decisions with the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008, which became effective on January 1, 2009. As a result, it has become much easier for employees with medical or physiological conditions to prove that they are “disabled” within the meaning of the law. Congress also made it easier for employees to show that they are protected by this law based on the employer having regarded them as being disabled.

In addition to the ADA, the Florida Civil Rights Act similarly prohibits discrimination based on “handicap,” and some public or federal employees are similarly protected by the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It should further be noted that employees with medical conditions may also be protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), depending on the circumstances.

The question of whether an employee is considered “disabled,” and the question of whether an accommodation would be deemed reasonable by the courts, are complex and fact intensive inquiries that will depend upon the particular circumstances in each individual case. If you believe that you may have a claim for disability discrimination or an unlawful failure to accommodate, you should consult with counsel.