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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA ), Titles I and V

This federal statute prohibits discriminationagainst employees with disabilities in regards to job application procedures, hiring, advancement, discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and benefits of employment. 

In order to be protected by the provisions of the ADA, employees must prove that they are disabled, and qualified to perform the essential job functions. Under the ADA, disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the life activities of an individual. The ADA pertains to employers with at least 15 employees and has been amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991for additional specification. The ADA makes several declarations including:

  • Many Americans have disabilities, whether mental or physical, and the numbers are increasing as the population grows older.

  • American society has tended to isolate and segregate disabled individuals and this continues to be a widespread problem.

  • There are important areas in our economy and society that are impacted by discriminationincluding housing, public accommodations, employment, education, communication, transportation, recreation, health services, institutionalization, access to public services, and voting.

  • In the past, individuals who have been discriminated against for disabilities were given limited options for addressing these issues.

  • Disabled persons continue to be the target of discriminatory practices such as poor access to facilities, transportation, communications, exclusion, segregation, and relegation to a lower status in society including employment opportunities.

  • In American society, individuals with disabilities are mistreated socially, economically, and educationally.

  • Disabled persons live under many restrictions that limit their political influence and rights, and reduce their social effectiveness.

  • The disabled are to be treated equally with all other members of society as regards all aspects of life. Discrimination of disabled individuals diminishes the overall economic viability and productivity of the nation through unfair and unequal practices.


The ADAmerit factor resolutions impairment/bases in order of prevalence are (1) orthopedic and structural impairments of the back, (2) regarded as disabled, (3) non-paralytic orthopedic impairment, (4) depression, (5) hearing impairment, (6) Diabetes, and (7) vision impairment.

   - EEOC ADACharge Data by Impairment/Bases Merit Factor Resolutions FY1992 – FY2002.

It is very risky to fire any disabled IT employee because of the special protections offered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The Americans with Disabilities Actwas enacted with the intention of:

  • Eliminating discriminationagainst individuals with disabilities.

  • Defining standards to address discriminationagainst individuals and disabilities, including its relation to employment termination.

  • Maintaining the Federal government as the lead enforcer of standards to protect individuals with disabilities.

  • Using Congressional authority to address discrimination issues affecting those individuals with disabilities.

Discrimination as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Actmay hinder an employer from firing an employee without legal retribution and is based on the following principles:

  • Classifying a job applicant or employee to harm their opportunities or status related to their disabilities.

  • Entering into a contract or other relationship that discriminates against an individual with disabilities.

  • Maintaining standards or administrative policies that are discriminatory based on an individual’s disabilities.

  • Denying equal jobs or benefits due to a person’s disabilities.

The employer not making reasonable accommodations for a known physically or mentally disabled person that is otherwise qualified, unless the accommodation causes undue hardship on the company. Reasonable accommodations, for example, may include shortened or flexible work schedules, wheelchair ramps, or larger computer screens. Reasonable accommodation may vary by employer and by the disabled employee depending on:

  • The company’s financial condition.

  • Company size.

  • Essential job functions.

  • Responsibilities of the job functions.

  • The nature of the business.

  • The severity of the employee’s physical or mental impairment.

  • The number of workplace accommodations that are required.

  •  How effective the accommodations are at assisting the employee with performing the job function.

  • Utilizing qualification criteria, employment tests, or other selection methods that screen out disabled individuals, unless the selection standards are a business requirement.
    Administering employment tests that do not accurately measure the required skills of a disabled individual, but rather highlight the physical or mental impairments of such a person.

The above book excerpt is from:

You're Fired! Firing Computer Professionals

The IT manager Guide for Terminating "With Cause"

ISBN 0-9744486-4-8

Robert Papaj

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