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Advancing rights and enhancing lives of people with disabilities







The CDR Guide to Disability Rights
(and dealing with the system)


What rights do I have under the Americans with Disabilities Act in the workplace?
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against qualified applicants with disabilities who can perform the essential functions of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation. The ADA prohibits discrimination in all areas of employment: testing, interviewing, hiring, wages, promotion, disciplinary action, layoff, discharge, and recall to work.

Should I disclose my disability to potential / present employers? If so, when?
The ADA does not require an applicant to disclose a disability to a prospective employer. Informing an employer that you have disability is a decision that each individual must make for themselves. According to the most recent regulations implementing the ADA, a prospective employer is prohibited from asking an applicant to disclose a disability or asking disability-related questions unless the disability is obvious. While the statute contains no disclosure requirements, there is a consideration an applicant should keep in mind regarding this issue: informing the employer after a job offer has been made allows the applicant and the prospective employer to concentrate on skills and abilities rather than on disability.

How can I best achieve accommodation on the job?
If you require an accommodation on the job, it is best to inform the employer after you've made the decision to disclose your disability. Help your employer decide what constitutes a reasonable and effective accommodation: Remember, you know what works best for you. The employer may not be familiar with the options and alternatives available. Prior to making a final decision on the accommodation, visit the job site to ensure that the accommodations will be effective. Remember, an employer is only required to provide an applicant or employee with a *reasonable* accommodation. An accommodation is reasonable if it does not impose an undue financial burden on the employer or if it does not disrupt the workplace or the service being provided.

For additional information:
Americans with Disabilities Act (US Dept. of Justice)


Disability & Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTAC) (800/949.4232)
There are ten federally funded regional centers established to provide information, training, and technical assistance to employers, people with disabilities, and other entities with responsibilities under the ADA. The centers act as a "one-stop" central comprehensive resource on ADA issues in employment, public services, public accommodations, and communications. Each center works closely with local business, disability, governmental, rehabilitation, and other professional networks to provide ADA information and assistance, placing special emphasis on meeting the needs of small businesses. Programs vary in each region, but all centers provide the following:
  • Technical Assistance
  • Information and Referral
  • Education and Training
  • Materials Dissemination
  • Public Awareness
  • Local Capacity Building
State of Illinois

Equip for Equality (312/341.0022)
11 East Adams, Suite 1100, Chicago IL 60603
We are a private, nonprofit organization that operates the federally mandated Protection & Advocacy System for Illinois, which safeguards the rights of children and adults with physical and mental disabilities (including developmental disabilities and mental illnesses). Please feel free to use our web site to gather information, reports, and educational materials. Only individuals in Illinois with a disability (as defined by the ADA) are eligible for Equip for Equality's services, including children, senior citizens, and individuals in state-operated facilities, nursing homes and community-based programs.

Illinois Assistive Technology Project (IATP)
1 West Old State Capitol Plaza, Suite 100, Springfield, Illinois 62701
217-522-7985 voice / 217-522-9966 tty / 217-522-8067 fax / 800-852-5110 v/tty, IL only

Let us help you find the right technology — technology that lets you learn, work and play with greater independence.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN) (800/526.7234 (V/TTY))
The Job Accommodation Network is a free consulting service that provides information about job accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the employability of people with disabilities.

Centers for Independent Living (CIL)
Centers for independent living (CILs) are local private nonprofit corporations that provide services to maximize the independence of individuals with disabilities and the accessibility of the communities they live in. Centers are funded in part by the Dept. of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration, Independent Living Branch, to provide, among other things, several core services:
  • Advocacy
  • Information and referral
  • Independent living skills training
  • Peer counseling
Citizens Information Service of IL (CIS) (312/939.4636)
332 South Michigan, Chicago IL 60604
CIS, a state-wide non-profit non-partisan organization, helps voters and future voters make sense of our policy and election process. In schools, community groups and neighborhoods, we share important information, develop publications, provide technical assistance, and conduct workshops. Our responsibility is to assist citizens and organizations to help them be a part of the decision-making process at every level-national, state, county, city, and community. We do this by providing non-partisan information, training, technical assistance and collaborative efforts.

Council for Disability Rights

Knowing your rights is the easy part. Exercising them can be a bit trickier.

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