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Employee Rights, Disability Discrimination


Section 201 of the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA) provides protection against discrimination in all personnel actions of qualified individuals with disabilities. Personnel actions include hiring, discharge, promotion, pay, benefits, reassignment, and other actions affecting the terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

The CAA also prohibits other kinds of discrimination, including using standards or criteria that have the effect of discrimination on the basis of disability; using qualification standards or other selection criteria that tend to screen out an individual with a disability; or denying equal jobs or benefits to a qualified individual because the individual is known to have a relationship or association with an individual with a known disability.

An employing office is required to make a reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified employee or applicant with a disability. The exception to this requirement is if the employing office can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the functioning of the office.

An employing office is only required to accommodate a known physical or mental limitation of an otherwise qualified applicant or employee. Before a job offer is made, employing offices may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. It is legal to condition a job offer on the results of a medical examination conducted after the job offer is made, but only if the examination is required for all entering employees.

Covered employees and applicants currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs are not protected. An alcoholic may be considered an individual with a disability and protected by law, but can still be held to the same performance standards as other employees.


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