The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA for short, is a federal law that affords certain protections to people who have documented physical or mental disabilities. The ADA actually covers a variety of topics; among these, it protects employees in California and nationwide who may have to work with a disability.

For employees, the ADA offers two basic protections. The first is that employees with disabilities must not be singled out for different treatment with respect to screening, hiring, firing, laying off and the like. Moreover, those with disabilities must be offered the same job opportunities and other benefits of employment that are offered to everyone else, including even things like the ability to attend company outings and social activities.

The second protection is that an employer must provide an otherwise qualified person a reasonable accommodation for his or her disability, unless doing so causes the employer an undue hardship.

For an employee to get the protections of the ADA, he or she must be able to document to his or her employer a bona fide disability. The ADA includes a definition of what constitutes a disability, but unlike other laws, it does not give a comprehensive list of medical or other conditions that are by default considered disabilities.

Furthermore, what constitutes an undue hardship can depend heavily on the facts and circumstances, but the idea is that while an employer must to some degree yield its desires and preferences to the needs of a disabled employee, it need not do so to the point of compromising things like safety.

Applying these and other issues related to the ADA to a Fresno employee’s circumstances may be something best left to an attorney with experience handling employment discrimination matters.