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Rights of Employee with a Disability in Illinois - Short Term Disability

Updated on
March 23, 2021
Article written by
Attorney Matthew K. Dorich

What Are My Rights as an Employee with a Disability? How Does Short Term Disability Apply in Illinois?

In this article we will be discussing What are my rights as an employee with a disability? And How does short term disability apply in Illinois? We will answer the questions of:  

  • Who Determines if I am Qualified as Disabled?
  • Does There Always Need to be an Agency Determination?
  • Do I Need to Discuss My Disability with My Employer?
  • Once I am Determined to Have a Qualified Disability, Do I Have Additional Rights?
  • What Types of Activities are Protected?
  • Can I Request Accommodations Based on My Disability?
  • What is a Reasonable Accommodation?
  • Is My Employer Required to Provide a Reasonable Accommodation When Requested?
  • What if I am Fired or Treated Differently Due to My Disability?
  • What is Short Term Disability?
  • How is Short Term Disability Different than a Permanent Disability?
  • How Long Can Short Term Disability Last?

Employees with disabilities are protected by both State and Federal law. The protections are intended to ensure that anyone with a qualified disability is not discriminated against, treated unfairly, or denied an opportunity based on their disabilities.  

Who Determines if I am Qualified as Disabled?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has established a series of rules and standards that will determine what type of situations qualify as disabilities. To establish a disability in the legal sense, you must fall into one of the determinations found in the ADA and receive a determination the Social Security Administration (SSA).  

Does There Always Need to be an Agency Determination?

For a permanent disability, a finding through the Social Security Administration is necessary. There are certain temporary disabilities that can be determined and protected without a finding from the SSA.

Do I Need to Discuss My Disability with My Employer?

If you were disabled at the time of your application and your disability is disclosed during that process, you are not required to discuss the details of your disability with your employer. You may need to discuss the accommodations needed for your disability to ensure that your needs are being met.

Once I am Determined to Have a Qualified Disability, Do I Have Additional Rights?

Once you are established with a disability as recognized under the ADA, you are deemed a protected class. This means that you cannot be discriminated against on the basis of your disability. You are also able to seek reasonable accommodations to preform the duties of your employment.

What Types of Activities are Protected?

All employment related activities as protected which includes recruitment, hiring, training, assignments, promotions, pay, benefits, leave, and layoffs. Additionally, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you for asserting your rights under the ADA.

Can I Request Accommodations Based on My Disability?

Yes, if you can preform the essential functions of your position with the assistance of a reasonable accommodation, your employer is required to make such an accommodation for you. Your employer is not required to change the functions of your employment position but must allow the accommodation that allows for you to complete those functions.

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that allows for a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities.  

Some reasonable accommodations can be providing or modifying equipment, job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, and making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.

Is My Employer Required to Provide a Reasonable Accommodation When Requested?

Yes, unless the employer can demonstrate that creating or allowing for that accommodation would create an undue hardship or an unreasonable financial burden.

What if I am Fired or Treated Differently Due to My Disability?

If you feel that you are being discriminated against in some capacity, which includes being terminated, being passed over for promotions and raises, or not afforded the chance to have employment that you are otherwise qualified for, you need to contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to report the perceived discrimination. The EEOC will then investigate the claims and render a finding.  

What is Short Term Disability?

Short-term disability in Illinois is a temporary medical condition, lasting less than one year caused by non-occupational accidents, conditions, or illnesses.

How is Short Term Disability Different than a Permanent Disability?

Short term disability allows for the same accommodation requests and protects your continued employment. In the case where you can no longer work due to the temporary disability, your income is protected through disability insurance which pays a percentage of the disabled employees regular income.

How Long Can Short Term Disability Last?

Short term disability is only for medical conditions lasting less than one year. If your condition is going to last longer than one year, you will need to consider seeking a finding through SSA to continue with any accommodations and protections you may need to continue your employment.

Rights of Employee with a Disability in Illinois - Short Term Disability
Author

Attorney Matthew K. Dorich

Matt's practice is focused on family law, real estate transactions, civil litigation, estate planning, and business law issues.

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