Overview

If you believe you may have been discriminated against in employment due to a disability and meet the requirements listed below, you may submit a discrimination complaint through the TWC Civil Rights Division. To learn more about the complaint process, see How to Submit an Employment Discrimination Complaint.

Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 (Chapter 21) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants or employees with disabilities in job application, procedures, conditions and privileges of employment. Chapter 21 applies to private employers with 15 or more employees, and to all state and local governmental entities no matter how many employees they have.

A qualified individual under Chapter 21 and ADA meets one or more of these requirements:

  • Has a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities
  • Has a record of having a disability
  • Is regarded as having a disability

In the sections below we provide information about common concerns or complaints.

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Reasonable Accommodation

An employee with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of their job with or without a reasonable accommodation.  If you need an accommodation due to a disability, you must request it from your employer.  A reasonable accommodation is a requested item or action that would enable you to perform the required functions of your job.

For example, the accommodation may be one of the following:

  • Make buildings and bathrooms readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities
  • Change your work schedule or reassign you to a vacant position you are qualified for
  • Provide you with equipment or devices that will aid you in performing the essential functions of your job
  • Provide additional training
  • Provide qualified readers or interpreters

An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation unless the request causes significant difficulty or expense to the employer.

An employer is not required to lower quality or production standards for disabled applicants or employees.

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Medical Examination & Questions

When you apply for a job, the employer may not ask you if you have a disability. The employer can ask you about your ability to perform specific job functions.

A job offer can be based on the results of a medical examination, but only if the examination is required for all entering employees in similar jobs. Medical examinations of employees must be job related and consistent with the business’ needs.

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Drug & Alcohol Abuse

Employees and applicants currently using drugs or alcohol are not covered by Chapter 21 or the ADA, and an employer can base an employment decision on the basis of such use. Tests for illegal drugs are not within the ADA’s restrictions on medical examinations. Employers may hold illegal drug users and alcoholics to the same performance standards as other employees.

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Harassment

Harassment based on a person’s disability, having a history of a disability, or being regarded as disabled is illegal. Disability harassment violates Texas and Federal EEO laws.

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