ADHD Employment Laws
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder presents challenges in everyday life. Those having the disorder can find it difficult to maintain prolonged focus, especially when confronted with repetitive, tedious tasks or situations where prolonged concentration is needed. The desire to get up and move around further interrupts focus, making it challenging for those with the condition to function in many work settings.
Federal and state laws prevent employees with ADHD from being discriminated against because of their disability when it comes to being hired or fired, or receiving compensation or benefits. In addition, employers can be required to make reasonable accommodations for employees with this disability.
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects those employed by the federal government or federally-funded agencies such as schools. Private schools and other employers which receive federal funding or grants are also covered under the act.
To be covered, the employee must disclose their disability to their employer and have been professionally diagnosed with the disorder. The medical opinion must determine that the symptoms are a disabling factor on the job, and that the employee is otherwise fully qualified to hold the position.
Americans with Disabilities Acts
The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted in 1990 to extend the major provisions of the Rehabilitation Act to private companies that employ 15 or more people. Employees of local and state governments are also covered under this act.
Again, the employer must be made aware of the employee’s disability and documentation from a professional source must be provided, stating how the employee’s condition impairs his ability to perform at the job he is otherwise qualified for.
States can enact laws that are more stringent than the federal laws in order to protect employees with ADHD. In Texas, employees with severe ADHD may qualify for disability benefits.
Pennsylvania extends anti-discriminatory laws to private companies which employ four or more people. Check with your state to determine whether regulations that exceed the federal laws are in effect.
Family and Medical Leave Act
Should severe ADHD necessitate time off work to care for a family member, the Family and Medical Leave Act can permit unpaid time off to do just that.
The employee needs to disclose that they are taking the time off under the specifics of the act, and provide documentation that the medical impairment falls within the FMLA’s definition of a serious medical condition.
Failure to do so can result in the company filling the position and not allowing the absent employee to return to the job.