What is a Disability Under the ADA?
Understanding Disability Discrimination Protections
State and federal laws prohibit discrimination based upon disability or perceived disability. Not every condition that interferes with your ability to work is considered a disability under these laws, however.
In order to qualify for protection under the disability discrimination laws, you must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.
In order to be "substantially limiting" under the ADA, the impairment must be either permanent or long term. This means that an injury or short term illness will likely not be considered a disability. If you have a short term condition, you may still qualify for benefits and protection under the Massachusetts Paid Family Leave Act, but may not be entitled to ask for accommodations when you return to work.
In addition to the long term nature of the condition, it must substantially limit a "major life activity." Things that are recognized as major life activities include walking, seeing, reading, bending and communicating. It also includes major bodily functions. These can include the immune system and digestive, bowel, bladder, respiratory, neurological, circulatory, endocrine and reproductive functions.
Learn more here about disability discrimination.
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