New Jersey employers with 15 or more workers must generally abide by the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and make reasonable accommodations for those who qualify for protection under the 1990 federal law. While this may be true for the most part, there are a number of important exceptions, and certain employers are required to follow some ADA provisions while being exempt from others.
The ADA seeks to ensure that disabled workers are not denied the opportunities available to others or discriminated against because of their qualifying disabilities. The law defines an employer as being a person or entity engaged in commerce with 15 or more people who work full time for 20 or more calendar weeks per year. Religious organizations, certain private clubs and businesses entirely owned by members of a federally recognized Native American tribe are not required to follow the provisions of the ADA.
In addition to providing protections to disabled workers, Title III of the ADA addresses discrimination against customers with a qualifying disability. The 12 business categories that must comply with these provisions include retail stores, bars and restaurants, medical offices and hotels. These businesses are required to take reasonable steps to accommodate disabled patrons regardless of their size, number of employees or the age of the buildings they occupy.
While many aspects of the ADA are clear, the law also includes nebulous terms such as 'readily achievable' and 'reasonable accommodations." This means that employers may sometimes be unclear as to what exactly is expected of them. Attorneys with experience in ADA claims can review the policies and conduct of employers to determine if the terms of the law have been violated.