The Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to all employers who have fifteen or
more employees. Whether or not an injured worker is subject to
protection under the ADA after the workers' compensation injury
depends upon the type of injury sustained and whether or not he has
a permanent disability. The definition of disability for workers'
compensation and the ADA is construed differently by the laws and
courts. Determining whether an individual who has a workers'
compensation injury is also disabled under the provisions of the ADA
can sometimes be a difficult and confusing situation. Since the ADA
is relatively new and the courts are still interpreting this
problem, it is wise to seek legal advice if in doubt.
Generally speaking, an
employer cannot refuse to hire an injured worker with a disability
if the worker can perform the essential functions of the job either
with or without reasonable accommodations. However, this does not
mean the employer has to keep the job open indefinitely. Company
guidelines established before the accident are generally very