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The following definitions are based on the New York Human Rights Law. Unlike both the Americans
with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the New York Human Rights Law
protects all individuals with physical, mental or medical impairments that either impede normal bodily
function or are demonstrable by medically accepted diagnostic technique. The protection of the
federal statutes is limited to those impairments that substantially limit one or more major life
Essential Job Functions: Essential functions are those fundamental to the position; A function is
essential if not performing that function would fundamentally change the job occupation for which
the position exists.
Person With A Disability: a person who has “a physical, mental, or medical impairment,” who, upon
provision of a reasonable accommodation if needed, is able to perform in a reasonable manner, the
activities involved in the job or occupation sought or held. Individuals with a disability also include
persons who have a record or history of impairment, even if they do not currently have impairment.
These individuals are protected from bias, but only current impairments need to be reasonably
accommodated. Persons who have a condition regarded by others as an impairment, or who are
incorrectly perceived as having an impairment, are also protected from discrimination. However, only
actual impairments need to be reasonably accommodated. Physical, Mental or Medical Impairment:
any impairment “resulting from anatomical, physiological, genetic, or neurological conditions which
prevents the exercise of a normal bodily function or is demonstrable by medically accepted clinical or
laboratory diagnostic techniques.”
Qualified Person with a Disability: a person with a disability who, as defined below, can reasonably
perform the activities involved in the job, and who satisfies the requisite skill, experience, education
and other job-related requirements of the position which the individual holds or desires.
Reasonable Accommodation: The New York Human Rights Law, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 require that employers provide reasonable
accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified applicants or
employees with disabilities, unless it can be demonstrated that providing such accommodations would
result in undue financial or operational hardships.
Reasonable accommodation refers to the modifications or adjustments to a job application process
which enables a qualified individual with a disability to be considered for the position sought and to
modifications or adjustments to the work environment or the manner in which a job is performed. An
accommodation is reasonable if it removes or mitigates the barriers to performance caused by the
individual’s impairment, and does not cause undue hardship to the employer.