State and federal laws protect any individual with a physical or mental impairment that limits their major life activities—such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, communicating, and caring for themselves—provided the individual can perform the essential functions of the job safely and efficiently with reasonable accommodations. Depending on the particular employee’s condition, this can include not only persons who traditionally have been regarded as disabled—such as those with impaired vision, hearing, or speech—but also those with “invisible” disabilities, such as AIDS or HIV positive, cancer, or learning disabilities. These protections may apply if the individual currently suffers from a disability, has a history or record of a disability, or is perceived to have a disability.
These laws require that an employer provide the employee “”reasonable accommodations”” provided such accommodations do not result in an undue hardship to the employer or a direct threat to health and safety, and provided the individual is able to perform the essential functions of the position.
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