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State law prohibits discrimination against you if you are disabled, qualified and can perform the essential functions of your job, with or without accommodation. You are an individual with a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that makes achievement unusually difficult or limits your capacity to work, if you have a record of such an impairment, or you are perceived as having such an impairment.

Your impairment "makes achievement unusually difficult" when it limits your major life activities such as seeing, hearing, walking, learning, and working. Your impairment "limits your capacity to work" when the restrictions imposed by your impairment limit your ability to perform the particular job in question.

The statute of limitations for filing a complaint is 300 days from the date the action was taken or you were made aware the action was taken.

What actions are covered?

When your disability motivates your employer's adverse decision, it becomes unlawful discrimination.

Specifically, the law prohibits discrimination in recruitment and hiring, job assignments, pay, leave or benefits, promotion, licensing or union membership, training, layoff and firing, harassment, and other employment related actions.

What is reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is a modification to a job, the work environment, or how things are done that allows you, if you are otherwise qualified, to apply for or complete the duties of the job. If you have a disability, you are generally expected to request an accommodation, unless the need for one is obvious.

Your employer is required to grant a reasonable accommodation unless the accommodation would result in a hardship to the business. Whether a particular accommodation poses a hardship varies based on the circumstances of each case, but generally a hardship may exist if the accommodation is difficult to achieve or expensive relative to the size and resources your employer. An accommodation may also be a hardship if it is overly disruptive to your employer's business operations.

There is no prescribed list of reasonable accommodations. Each request for an accommodation must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Note that while you may be entitled to an accommodation, you are not entitled to the accommodation of your choice. Your employer may select any accommodation that will allow you to apply or complete the duties of the job.

May my employer ask about my disability?

Inquiries about your disability, health or worker's compensation history are unlawful if you imply or express a limitation based on disability. Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), any inquiry at the pre-employment stage, which would likely require you to disclose a disability, is unlawful. We advise employers to avoid such inquiries or medical examinations before making a bona fide job offer.

However, your employer may inquire about your ability to perform essential job functions and, within certain limits, may conduct tests of all applicants to determine if you can perform such functions, with or without an accommodation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the law apply to alcoholism and drug addiction?

Alcoholism and drug addictions are disabilities under state law and you may not be discriminated against for either reason. Under the ADA, you are not protected if you are a "current" user of illegal drugs although if you are recovering or in a supervised drug rehabilitation program you are covered under both state and federal laws.

Your employer may you to meet the same standards of performance and conduct set for other employees and may prohibit the use of illegal drugs and alcohol in the workplace.

Can my employer refuse to hire me because of a disability?

You may be passed over if your disability is reasonably related to perform job-related duties adequately and safely. Your employer may consider whether your disability would contitute a hazard to your safety, the safety of your coworkers, or the public. However, your employer may not assume a hazard exists because of your disability and must typically establish through objective or medically supported evidence that a significant risk of substantial harm would occur.

Your employer has a legitimate interest in maintaining a safe workplace, but may not generalize rejection of persons with disabilities. If a hazard does exist, your employer has a further duty to determine if a reasonable accommodation can be made to reduce the hazard to an acceptable level.

Must an employer hire me if I am qualified over other qualified applicants without a disability?

An employer is not required to hire you if you are qualified over other qualified applicants. However, an employer may not refuse to hire you because of your or because a reasonable accommodation is required to make it possible for you to perform essential job functions.

Can my employer discriminate against me if I have an association with a person with a disability?

Under state law, disability "by association" is not covered. This refers to discrimination against you because your spouse, child, or friend has a disability. However, the federal ADA does protect you against discrimination on this basis and a complaint may be filed with the US. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). See the disability resources section for contact information.

How do the worker's compensation and fair employment laws apply if I sustain a work-related injury?

If you are injured on the job and covered by the worker's compensation law you are not precluded from seeking remedies under state or federal fair employment laws. If your injury results in a disability as defined under the fair employment law, and you are not returned to work, not reasonably accommodated or face another adverse action because of your disability, you may file a discrimination complaint with us. You may also seek any rights separately available under the worker's compensation law.

Is AIDS a disability under the law?

Yes, if you have AIDS you are protected under the law and may not be discriminated against because of this disease.

Disability Resources

A number of important resources are available to assist you and your employer. A few key agency resources are:

ADA Technical Assistance

Architectural & Transporation Barriers


Public Accommodations & Government Services



For more information