Disability Discrimination

Section 201 of the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA), which applies Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to Congress, provides protection against discrimination in all personnel actions of qualified individuals with a disability. The CAA also prohibits other kinds of discrimination against people with a disability.

Only certain inquiries about the physical abilities of a prospective employee are permissible before a job offer is made. For example, an applicant may be asked if he or she can perform the basic functions of a job, but not about the nature or existence of a disability. Likewise, an employing office may not condition a job offer on the results of a medical examination unless a medical examination is required for all entering employees.

An employing office is required to make a reasonable accommodation for the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified employee or applicant with a disability. Employing offices, however, must only accommodate a known physical or mental limitation of an otherwise qualified applicant or employee. If an employer can demonstrate that a reasonable accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the functioning of the office, an accommodation does not have to be provided.

Covered employees and applicants currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs are not protected. An alcoholic may be considered an individual with a disability and protected by law, but can still be held to the same performance standards as other employees.

For more information, please refer to the Congressional Accountability Act and the CAA Handbook.