Does the ADA protect those who care for an elderly or disabled family member?
UPDATED: August 24, 2012
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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides broad protections to individuals living and working in the United States in order to help them to live normal, productive lives. These laws also allow disabled or elderly individuals the right to receive the help that they need to access facilities and engage in normal behaviors that people who are not disabled can engage in.
Often, disabled or elderly individuals need to have care provided to them either temporarily or permanently by a family member or other individual who is related to them. Fortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act recognizes this need and provides protection.
The Americans with Disabilities Act protects those who need to take time off to care for a disabled family member, relative, or even a child who is not disabled but who is too young to take care of him or herself.
However, while the ADA ensures that you aren't going to be discriminated against solely on the basis of having to provide care, it does not mandate that your employer give you time off or change the schedule for you. This means that as long as you can get to work when you are supposed to and do your work, you can't be discriminated against and an employer cannot exhibit bias against you or assume you won't be able to do your work. However, the ADA cannot protect you from being terminated for failing to do the work required, when required.
The Americans with Disabilities Act extends strong penalties against employers who violate these regulations, and as a result, most companies are well aware of how to remain in compliance with the ADA in order to help their employees, and to avoid fines and lawsuits.