The ADA covers all employment related activities, and says that it’s unlawful to discriminate in activities such as, but not limited to, recruitment, pay, hiring/firing, promotion, training, leave, and benefits. What if one of these employee benefits is access to legal assistance? Does that present any issues that employers need to be aware of? Yes. In Florida, an individual who is deaf and eligible to receive legal assistance as an employee benefit, complained that three law firms on the employer’s referral list refused to provide a sign language interpreter when she was scheduling appointments with them.
Do your homework to make sure the resources on your company’s referral lists understand their ADA obligations and are prepared to meet them. This situation was a real one that was mediated by the Department Of Justice. In this particular situation, the 3 law firms on the company’s referral list agreed to adopt policies to provide qualified interpreters and arranged with this Florida employer, the source of the referral, to inform them when potential clients need accommodations.
This information should not be construed as "legal advice" for a particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended only to be a practical guide for participants familiar with this subject. Users should seek appropriate legal advice tailored to address their specific situation.