The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the most important federal law protecting the rights of people with disabilities and allowing them to become productive members of society.

The ADA makes it illegal for employers, state and local governments, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunication agencies to discriminate against people with disabilities.

Title I of the ADA applies to employers and states. It sets down rules on how they must treat you, both as a job applicant and an employee with a disability. The law gives you the right to get reasonable accommodations for your disability at any stage of the application process, after you are offered a job, and during your employment.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires private employers with 50 or more employees, as well as all state, local, and federal government employers, to give employees up to 12 weeks (60 days) of unpaid leave a year. To take the leave, you must have a specific reason, such as becoming a parent, recovering from a serious health condition, or taking care of a family member with a serious health condition.

In these situations, any time you take off from work will be “job-protected,” which means that at the end of your leave, you can return to your original job or you will be given another job that is similar. The FMLA also requires that your employer continue to give you any group health insurance benefits you are entitled to during your leave. However, you will still be responsible for any premium — or part of a premium — you pay for that coverage.

This article discusses these laws and how you can make sure that your rights are respected.