Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  Disability Discrimination

  • Who is considered disabled under the law?
  • Can I be asked about my disability in a job interview?
  • What if my employer does not know I amdisabled? Am I protected?
Who is considered disabled under the law?

According to the ADA Amendments Act, the term "disability" means, with respect to an individual, one who:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such an individual;
  • A record of such an impairment;
  • Being regarded as having such an impairment

The ADA Amendments Act changes the way these criteria should be interpreted.

Can I be asked about my disability in a job interview?

If you are applying for a job, an employer cannot ask you if you are disabled or ask about the nature or severity of your disability. However, an employer can ask if you can perform the duties of the job with or without reasonable accommodation; an example of this is: this job requires you to stand outside for long hours, or, must be able to lift 20 pounds. An employer can also ask you to describe or to demonstrate how, with or without reasonable accommodation; you will perform the duties of the job.

Federal contractors and subcontractors who are covered by the affirmative action requirements of the Rehabilitation Act may invite individuals with disabilities to identify themselves on a job application form or in some other pre-employment inquiry. Employers requesting this information must follow certain legal requirements regarding the way this information is requested and used. The information must be maintained confidentially and separately from regular personnel records.

A pre-employment inquiry about a disability is also allowed if required by another Federal law or regulation such as those that cover disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam era. Pre-employment inquiries about disabilities may be necessary under such laws to identify applicants or clients with disabilities in order to provide them with required special services.

What if my employer does not know I amdisabled? Am I protected?

An employer is required to accommodate only known disabilities. Therefore, it generally is your responsibility as a disabled employee to inform your employer that an accommodation is needed.

If you think you will need a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the application process or to perform essential job functions, you should inform the employer that an accommodation will be needed, so that you are protected by the ADA if you are not accommodated.

Your employer is under an obligation to keep information about your disability that you disclose confidential. The ADA requires that the results of all medical examinations must be kept confidential and maintained in separate medical files.

Thought of the Week

"We focus on everyone's abilities, not their disabilities.They (workers with disabilities) bring so much to their place of business. They improve employee morale. They're loyal and they are committed. That's what most employers are looking for in today's time."

–Kristy Brinson; VR regional employment specialist

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

    from TED: The Economics Daily

    Employment-population ratio of people with a disability in 2018

    • 19.1% employment-population ratio for people with a disability
    • 16.4% employment-population ratio for women 16+with a disability
    • 22.3% employment-population ratio for men 16+ with a disability 



    • Working off the Clock – Alro Steel FLSA Overtime Pay Lawsuit May 30, 2022

      Federal Court Orders Notice to Alro Steel Employees in Nationwide Overtime Lawsuit

      Blanchard & Walker sent the court approved notice to 2500+ Alro Steel employees who may have a right to seek recover for off-the-clock uncompensated time at Alro Steel facilities throughout the country. Federal District Court Judge Murphy for the Eastern District of Michigan, granted conditional certification and ordered notice of FLSA rights to opt-in for current and former warehouse employees of Alro Steel Corporation. (more…)

    • The End of Forced Arbitration for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment March 8, 2022

      On March 3, 2022, President Biden signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment Act. This law is one significant step forward in the fight to end arbitration contracts that deny access to the Courts for violations of fundamental workplace rights.

      For far too long, countless survivors, workers, and consumers have been silenced by forced arbitration. (more…)


      News Update: Promised Waivers fall short.  According to recent reporting, the waiver program was much smaller than promised.  Although waivers for 55,000 more claimants is a good step forward, it fell short of the 382,000 promised and as of May 12, 2022 there is still no explanation about when or if more will be coming.