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Myths about the Americans with Disabilities Act

Courtney King, Attorney

Lawyer Courtney King serves as associate attorney at Ice Miller, LLP, in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she concentrates in state and federal labor and employment law. As an attorney, Courtney King represents clients in matters related to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

When it comes to applying the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the workplace, employers tend to buy into many misconceptions. Below, three ADA myths are dispelled.
- A company is within its rights to require a medical release before an employee returns to work, but it cannot require that release to be free of restrictions. In fact, if the disabled employee is released to return to work with restrictions, the company is bound to provide reasonable accommodations so that the employee can perform the essential functions of the job.
- Sometimes a leave of absence can be considered a reasonable accommodation, but an employer cannot impose an artificial time limit on the leave as a means of terminating the employee should he or she be unable to return to work within that time frame. Such policies are typically seen as violating the ADA requirements that each case be treated individually. As always, it is incumbent upon the employer to prove that no other reasonable accommodation is available.
- Some employers believe that the the ADA is only applicable in instances where the employee has a physical disability. This is false; in fact, the ADA can be applied to many disabilities beyond those readily visible. Some disabilities that would be nearly imperceptible to someone looking from the outside qualify for ADA protection.

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