AD/HD in the workplace

December 13, 2008

I got introduced to AD/HD in a very roundabout way.  AD/HD reared its mysterious head in the workplace and drastically effected two very close friends.  Neither of them stayed in the job situation, neither of them worked it out.  Neither of them was aware of AD/HD.  One was trying to battle it out in her own AD/HD way.  The other just threw her hands up and quit.


By this time, I had become quite knowledgeable about AD/HD.  I tried to mediate a little.  I tried to get her to go along with her boss.  I tried to give her a new perspective.  I sympathized with her, explaining that her method was not wrong just different.  But at work it was not a democracy.  If she was willing to singlehandedlydo things a certain way, the law was on her side. With a legal letter she could get her boss to back off.  But this option was not availed.


Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has introduced the Americans with Disabilities Restoration Act (HR 3195), which would redress ........ narrow interpretations of the law. He has been joined by 244 cosponsors. The bill is designed to:  

     amend the definition of “disability” so that people who Congress originally intended to protect from discrimination are covered under the ADA;
     prevent courts from considering “mitigating measures”—such as eyeglasses or medication—when determining whether a person qualifies for protection under the law; and
     modify findings in the ADA that have been used by the courts to support a narrow reading of “disability.”

This bill is now moving through the process of consideration by the US Congress. CHADD and other disability organizations strongly support the passage of the ADA Restoration Act.


Currently people who are turned down for a job or terminated because the employer may mistakenly feel they cannot perform the job—or because the employer does not want to provide “reasonable accommodation” to enable the individual to do the job—are denied the ADA’s protection from discrimination. A college student may be unable to receive reasonable accommodations in his classes, if the school feels his disability is well managed by medication and does not constitute a substantial limitation, even though the student needs assistance with note taking or a non-distracting testing environment. 


Individuals are falling between a hard rock and the sea.  They are in a job where they would like to meet its challenges in their own way.  They are entitled to accommodations in the workplace or academia by the law.  However, in the process of qualifying for this entitlement they might "prove" themselves out of a job or make their environment not worth returning to.  Larger strides are needed in this direction.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008 was signed into law on September 25, 2008 and becomes effective January 1, 2009.

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