The ADA’s Little-Known “Association” Provision
By Marti Cardi, JD
VP Product Compliance
Matrix Absence Management
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides job protections for employees associated with an individual with a disability — a little-known ADA provision with great potential to cause problems for employers.
The ADA “association” provision protects applicants and employees from discrimination based on their relationship or association with an individual with a known disability. The purpose is to prevent employers from taking adverse actions based on unfounded stereotypes and assumptions about individuals who associate with people who have disabilities.
A family relationship is not required. The association provision extends protection to employees associated with any person with a disability. This could include an employee with a disabled roommate, friend, teammate, client, and so on, plus a disabled family member of any degree — a sibling, parent, spouse, child, grandparent, third cousin twice removed, etc.
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