New EEOC Publication on Employment of Health Care Workers
with Disabilities

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Monday, Feb. 26, 2007

CONTACT: Charles Robbins
         David Grinberg
         (202) 663-4900
TTY:     (202) 663-4494

New EEOC Publication Addresses Employment of Health Care Workers
with Disabilities

Latest Q&A Fact Sheet Explains How Americans with Disabilities Act
Applies to Employment in the Health Care Industry

Washington, D.C. - Naomi C. Earp, Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC), today announced the issuance of a
new question-and-answer (Q&A) fact sheet on the application of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to job applicants and
employees in the health care industry. The new publication, part
of a series of Q&A documents about specific disabilities in the
workplace and specific industries, is available on the EEOC's web
site at

Health care is the largest industry in the American economy. The
health care industry provided more than 13 million jobs in 2004
and is expected to account for 19 percent of all new jobs created
between 2004 and 2014 -- more than any other industry. In
addition, the health care industry has a high incidence of
occupational injury and illness. Health care jobs may involve
potential exposure to airborne and bloodborne infectious disease,
injuries from syringes, and other dangers; many health care jobs
can also be physically demanding and mentally stressful.

The new Q&A fact sheet provides practical information about
applying ADA employment rules in health care jobs, in a variety of
settings - from public and private hospitals and nursing care
facilities to doctors' and dentists' offices and diagnostic
laboratories. The occupations within the health care field are
many and varied, including not only physicians, surgeons, dental
hygienists and nurses, but social workers, physical therapists,
medical records clerks, laboratory technicians, paramedics, home
health aides, and custodial and food service workers in medical

"We should be mindful that disability does not mean inability, and
that every individual deserves the freedom to compete on a fair
and level playing field," said Chair Earp in announcing the
issuance of the new document. "People with disabilities represent
a vast pool of untapped talent for employers, particularly in an
industry that is growing as rapidly as the health care industry."

Although the rules under Title I of the ADA are the same for
employers and individuals with disabilities in all industries,
this fact sheet explains how the ADA applies to some unique
situations that may arise in the health care setting. Many of the
real-life examples in the fact sheet are based on cases that have
been decided by courts or settled by the EEOC.

Topics discussed in the new publication include:

* When someone is an "employee" covered by the ADA (as opposed to
  an independent contractor);

* When someone is an "individual with a disability" under the ADA;

* How to determine if a health care applicant or employee with a
  disability is qualified for ADA purposes;

* What types of reasonable accommodations health care workers with
  disabilities may need and the limitations on a health care
  employer's obligation to provide reasonable accommodation;

* When an employer may ask health care applicants or employees
  questions about their medical conditions or require medical
  examinations; and

* How a health care employer should handle safety concerns about
  applicants and employees.

The EEOC's latest ADA publication helps to advance the goals of
the New Freedom Initiative, President Bush's comprehensive
strategy for the full integration of people with disabilities into
all aspects of American life. The New Freedom Initiative seeks to
promote greater access to technology, education, employment
opportunities, and community life for people with disabilities. An
important part of the New Freedom Initiative strategy for
increasing employment opportunities involves providing employers
with technical assistance on the ADA.

The EEOC enforces Title I of the ADA, which prohibits employment
discrimination against people with disabilities in the private
sector and state and local governments, and the Rehabilitation
Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the
federal government. In addition, the EEOC enforces other federal
laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color,
religion, national origin, sex, and age. Further information about
the EEOC is available on its web site at

Source: EEOC

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