< All Topics

Employment Disabilities

"It is [...] the public policy of Oregon to guarantee individuals the fullest possible participation in the social and economic life of the state [...] without discrimination on the basis of disability." ORS 659A.103(1). To that end, Oregon law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") provide a variety of rules that obligate covered employers to accommodate disabled individuals in employment.

Employees with disabilities who work for covered employers (this with 15 employees or more under the ADA and 6 employees or more under Oregon state law) are entitled to reasonable workplace accommodations to facilitate the performance of essential job duties. A covered employer that learns of an employee's actual or perceived need for disability accommodations is usually required to engage in an interactive process to determine any potential accommodations that the employee may need in order to perform his or her job. Accommodations may include physical modifications to facilities, job and schedule restructuring, or acquiring physical equipment to assist with the performance of work.

Oregon law prohibits discrimination in employment against persons with disabilities. This means employers cannot terminate or take other adverse employment-related actions against an employee because she or he has a disability. Oregon's laws against discrimination in employment also prohibit employers from utilizing administrative tactics that have the effect of discriminating against employees on the basis of disabilities.

Oregon and federal employment laws significantly restrict disability-related medical examinations and inquiries. Generally, employers may only conduct examinations and make inquiries where required for job-related reasons and consistent with business necessities. Employers that improperly impose examinations or make inquiries into an employee's disability may be liable for violations of disability discrimination laws.