Workers' Compensation & the ADA
and the ADA
Only injured workers who meet the ADA's definition of an "individual with a disability" are considered disabled under the ADA, regardless of whether they satisfy criteria for receiving benefits under workers' compensation or other disability laws. A worker also must be "qualified" (with or without reasonable accommodation) to be protected by the ADA.
Work-related injuries do not always cause physical or mental impairments severe enough to "substantially limit" a major life activity. Also, many on-the-job injuries cause temporary impairments which heal within a short period of time with little or no long-term or permanent impact. Therefore, many injured workers who qualify for benefits under workers' compensation or other disability benefits laws may not be protected by the ADA.
An employer must consider work-related injuries on a case-by-case basis to know if a worker is protected by the ADA. (From the EEOC booklet ADA Questions and Answers)