"IT IS NOT A QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN DO THE JOB, BUT WHETHER OR NOT THE JOB IS ACCESSIBLE TO YOU AND YOUR CO-WORKERS RECEPTIVE TO YOU"
People with CFS face a tremendous economic challenge. Some persons with CFS are forced into the nightmare of red tape seeking financial assistance from the federal government. Others are trying to remain economically in- dependent by seeking new employment, remaining in present positions or attempting to return to work. These persons with CFS may benefit from some accommodation from their employers. But, CFS may be an invisible disability. There may be no readily apparent need for accommodation. This may cause a misunderstanding in the work place. A person with CFS may be perceived as being: lazy, unmotivated or antisocial. This may create a stressful work environment and lower the person with CFS' chances for success.
The ADA is a federal anti-discrimination statute designed to remove barriers which prevent qualified individuals with disabilities from enjoying the same employment opportunities available to non-disabled people.
There are five titles under the ADA. Title I outlaws job discrimination by: all state and local employers after January 26, 1992 and with 15 employees or more after July 26, 1994.
Persons with CFS may be considered disabled and protected under the ADA. The ADA definition of a "DISABILITY" is:
A person with CFS would have to meet one of the "DISABILITY" criteria to be considered disabled under the ADA. There is no legislative list of specific conditions that would constitute a disability. This determination is based on the disabling effect that CFS has had on your ability to perform "MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITIES."
For example, a person with CFS may have a physical impairment because it substantially limits his/her ability to stand, walk or even breathe, as an average person is able to.
The second and third parts of the definition may assist those persons with CFS re-entering the job market. A person with CFS who has recovered or is in remission may be protected by having a history of an impairment in medical/ employment records.
To be covered under the ADA, the individual must meet one of the "DISABILITY" criteria. He/she must be qualified to perform the "ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS" of the job with or without b>"REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION."
The "ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS" are the fundamental duties/tasks of the job. They are not marginal or incidental tasks that are not directly related to the job.
"REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION" is any change that an employer is able to make which allows an "OTHERWISE QUALIFIED" applicant/employee to perform the "ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS" of the job and share the benefits that non-disabled workers have. Some examples are:
According to the ADA Handbook, the best way to identify a possible accommodation is to have an informal consultation with the present or future employer.
To be covered under the ADA, you must be a "QUALIFIED INDIVIDUAL WITH A DISABILITY" and able to perform the "ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS" of the job with or without "REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION." This is not an affirmative action program. An employer may hire the best qualified applicant without discriminating against a qualified person with disability. These are broad legal terms that are left up to interpretation. Because of this, the attorneys with whom I consulted stated that each case must be reviewed on an individual basis.