OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.

August 27, 1997

 

 

MEMORANDUM FOR: AREA DIRECTORS
DISTRICT SUPERVISORS
 
FROM: LINDA R. ANKU
REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR
 
SUBJECT: EMPLOYMENT OF INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES

 


No existing or proposed OSHA regulations govern the employment of individuals with disabilities. OSHA's policy is:

 

 

  1. if an employee can perform their job functions in a manner which does not pose a safety hazard to themselves or others, the fact they have a disability is irrelevant,
  2. to strive for working conditions which will safeguard the safety and health of all workers, including those with special needs and limitations.

The "Americans with Disabilities Act" (ADA) imposes specific obligations on employers relative to employment of individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations in regards to which jobs "qualified individuals with a disability" may perform. A "qualified individual with a disability" is a person who meets legitimate skill, education, or other requirements of an employment position he/she holds or seeks, and who can perform the essential functions of the position with or without reasonable accommodation. The extent to which an employer must accommodate a "qualified individual with a disability" is governed by the ADA. Enclosed is a copy of a portion of a handbook which provides guidance relative to an employer's obligation under ADA. Employers are required to make individualized judgements, based on reliable or other objective evidence, when determining if an individual with a disability can perform the functions of a given job.

If you require any additional information regarding this matter, please contact [the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity].

[Corrected 10/22/2004]