(see below for links to EEOC)


Shown below are some definitions you need to be familiar with if you feel you are being discriminated against because of narcolepsy or any other disability. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employment discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector, and in state and local governments. Below the definitions, I have listed links to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission web site that can provide you with much more information. They are there to protect us from discriminating employers.


Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in all employment practices. It is necessary to understand several important ADA definitions to know who is protected by the law and what constitutes illegal discrimination:

Individual with a Disability

An individual with a disability under the ADA is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Major life activities are activities that an average person can perform with little or no difficulty such as walking, breathing, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning, and working.

Qualified Individual with a Disability

A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is someone who satisfies skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position held or desired, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of that position.

Reasonable Accommodation(see below)

Reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to, making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities; job restructuring; modification of work schedules; providing additional unpaid leave; reassignment to a vacant position; acquiring or modifying equipment or devices; adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies; and providing qualified readers or interpreters. Reasonable accommodation may be necessary to apply for a job, to perform job functions, or to enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment that are enjoyed by people without disabilities. An employer is not required to lower production standards to make an accommodation. An employer generally is not obligated to provide personal use items such as eyeglasses or hearing aids.

Undue Hardship

An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business. Undue hardship means an action that requires significant difficulty or expense when considered in relation to factors such as a business' size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation.

Prohibited Inquiries and Examinations

Before making an offer of employment, an employer may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. Applicants may be asked about their ability to perform job functions. A job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical examination, but only if the examination is required for all entering employees in the same job category. Medical examinations of employees must be job-related and consistent with business necessity.

Drug and Alcohol Use

Employees and applicants currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs are not protected by the ADA, when an employer acts on the basis of such use. Tests for illegal use of drugs are not considered medical examinations and, therefore, are not subject to the ADA's restrictions on medical examinations. Employers may hold individuals who are illegally using drugs and individuals with alcoholism to the same standards of performance as other employees.


Links to the EEOC:
(will open a new page in browser)

Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination: Questions And Answers

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Titles I and V

ADA - Your Employment Rights as an Individual With a Disability

Filing a Charge

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Home Page

Click here to go back to:







Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 26, 2000


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By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 701 et seq.), as amended, and in order to promote a model Federal workplace that provides reasonable accommodation for (1) individuals with disabilities in the application process for Federal employment; (2) Federal employees with disabilities to perform the essential functions of a position; and (3) Federal employees with disabilities to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Establishment of Effective Written Procedures to Facilitate the Provision of Reasonable Accommodation. (a) Each Federal agency shall establish effective written procedures for processing requests for reasonable accommodation by employees and applicants with disabilities. The written procedures may allow different components of an agency to tailor their procedures as necessary to ensure the expeditious processing of requests.

(b) As set forth in Re-charting the Course: The First Report of the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities (1998), effective written
procedures for processing requests for reasonable accommodation should include the following:

(1) Explain that an employee or job applicant may initiate a request for reasonable accommodation orally or in writing. If the agency requires an applicant or employee to complete a reasonable accommodation request form for recordkeeping purposes, the form must be provided as an attachment to the agency's written procedures;

(2) Explain how the agency will process a request for reasonable accommodation, and from whom the individual will receive a final decision;

(3) Designate a time period during which reasonable accommodation requests will be granted or denied, absent extenuating circumstances. Time limits for decision making should be as short as reasonably possible;

(4) Explain the responsibility of the employee or applicant to provide appropriate medical information related to the functional impairment at issue and the requested accommodation where the disability and/or need for accommodation is not obvious;

(5) Explain the agency's right to request relevant supplemental medical information if the information submitted does not clearly explain the nature of the disability, or the need for the reasonable accommo-dation, or does not otherwise clarify how the requested accommodation will assist the employee to perform the essential functions of the job or to enjoy the benefits and privileges of the workplace;

(6) Explain the agency's right to have medical information reviewed by a medical expert of the agency's choosing at the agency's expense;

(7) Provide that reassignment will be considered as a reasonable accommodation if the agency determines that no other reasonable accommodation will permit the employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of his or her current position;

(8) Provide that reasonable accommodation denials be in writing and specify the reasons for denial;

(9) Ensure that agencies' systems of recordkeeping track the processing of requests for reasonable accommodation and maintain the confidentiality of medical information received in accordance with applicable law and regulations; and

(10) Encourage the use of informal dispute resolution processes to allow individuals with disabilities to obtain prompt reconsideration of denials of reasonable accommodation. Agencies must also inform individuals with disabilities that they have the right to file complaints in the Equal Employment Opportunity process and other statutory processes, as appropriate, if their requests for reasonable accommodation are denied.

Sec. 2. Submission of Agency Reasonable Accommodation Procedures to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Within 1 year from the date of this order, each agency shall submit its procedures to the EEOC. Each agency shall also submit to the EEOC any modifications to its reasonable accommodation procedures at the time that those modifications are adopted.

Sec. 3. Collective Bargaining Obligations. In adopting their reasonable accommodation procedures, agencies must honor their obligations to notify their collective bargaining repre-sentatives and bargain over such procedures to the extent required by law.

Sec. 4. Implementation. The EEOC shall issue guidance for the implementation of this order within 90 days from the date of this order.

Sec. 5. Construction and Judicial Review. (a) Nothing in this order limits the rights that individuals with disabilities may have under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

(b) This order is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch and does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its agencies, its officers, its employees, or any person.


July 26, 2000.

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