The Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") protects:

1. persons with a "disability"

2. who are "qualified to perform the essential functions of a job"


3. adverse employment decisions (such as dismissal, denial of promotions, or refusal to hire)

4. because of the disability.

The Act also requires employers to make "reasonable accommodation" to an employee's or potential employee's disability to permit him or her to perform the essential functions of a job. The employee or applicant for employment is burdened with requesting a specific accommodation, and the employer must engage the employee in an "interactive process" to consider what accommodations might be both efficacious and reasonable. An employer need not make accommodations that impose "undue hardship." Undue hardship is an affirmative defense.

"Disability" is defined as a

5. physical or mental "impairment"

6. that "substantially limits"

7. performance of one or more "major life activities."