The Rehabilitation Act/ ADA
Now that I can show I have a disability can I show that I qualify to get an accommodation or be protected under the ADA?
You need to show that you can perform the Essential Functions of your job with or without a Reasonable Accommodation!
What does that mean?
Well practically it means that you can do your job even though you are disabled. For example – Let’s say I am a telephone operator for SSA and I lose the ability to speak due to throat cancer (G-d forbid). Well, if I cannot answer the phone anymore and speak to customers or claimants and this is an “essential function” of my job in my position description then technically I can be fired without recourse.
However, lets say they make a device that I can hold to my throat that allows me to speak or they have a device that allows me to sign to an interpreter who speaks to the customer or claimant for me. If that is the case then I can argue that the agency should provide me with a reasonable accommodation of the interpreter or the device.
Next time we will discuss how to get that device and how much your federal agency must pay in order to accommodate you!