Rhode Island Disability Discrimination

In Rhode Island, it is illegal to discriminate against “qualified individuals” with a disability. This means that employees are entitled to be provided a “reasonable accommodation” if the accommodation will allow the employee to perform the job.

Rhode Island mostly follows Federal Law when it comes to disability discrimination. A disability is any long lasting physical or mental impairment that limits a “major life activity” and is “fundamental” to the duties of the job. If these two requirements are met, then an employee is covered under law and an employer must provide the worker with the aforementioned “reasonable accommodation.”

Disabilities: Some examples of covered disabilities include: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing and learning.

Reasonable Accommodation: While it is true that employees with disabilities are entitled to a “reasonable accommodation” for qualified individuals with disabilities, employers need not do so if it would cause an “undue hardship.” If the accommodation is properly classified as an undue hardship, the employer can discriminate against the employee based on his disability.

Useful Links:

Rhode Island Civil Rights of People With Disabilities Act

Enforcement Guidance: Disability-Related Inquiries And Medical Examinations Of Employees Under The ADA

2011 EEOC Regulations Interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments

Applying Performance And Conduct Standards To Employees With Disabilities under the ADA (EEOC guidance)