Employers' Responsibilities

Employers with 15 or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against people with disabilities by Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In general, the employment provisions of the ADA require:

  • equal opportunity in selecting, testing, and hiring qualified applicants with disabilities;
  • job accommodation for applicants and workers with disabilities when such accommodations would not impose "undue hardship;" and
  • equal opportunity in promotion and benefits.

The Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) provides information on the ADA, but it does not enforce any part of the law.

Other federal laws bar discrimination on the basis of disability in employment and are either enforced or administered by the Department of Labor. The primary such law is Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires federal contractors and subcontractors with government contracts in excess of $10,000 to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) is responsible for enforcing Section 503.

The Department’s Civil Rights Center (CRC) enforces the employment-related provisions of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 504 covers organizations and entities that receive federal financial assistance from DOL. CRC also enforces Title II of the ADA as that title applies to the labor- and workforce-related practices of state and local governments and other public entities. Finally, CRC enforces Section 188 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), which bars disability-based discrimination by programs and activities that are part of the One-Stop employment and training system established by WIA Title I. See the Laws & Regulations subtopic for specific information on these laws.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces ADA regulations covering employment.

DOL Web Pages on This Topic

  • Business Focus Provides links to information on hiring and employing people with disabilities.
  • Recruiting and Hiring Practices Provides links to information on how to find qualified applicants with disabilities and comply with laws prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in the workplace.
  • Job Accommodation Network (JAN) JAN is a free consulting service that provides information about job accommodations, the ADA, and the employability of people with disabilities.
  • JAN's Web Portal for Employers Information for employers about accommodation, legal issues, and human resources issues.
  • Business Leadership Network The Business Leadership Network is a national program led by employers in concert with state Governors' Committees and/or other community agencies that engage the leadership and participation of companies throughout the United States to hire qualified job candidates with disabilities.