Retaining employment is extremely important for those with psychiatric disabilities because the benefits of employment are not attainable through any other activity alone. Recent plans for improving employment outcomes for people with severe mental illnesses have both practice and policy implications. For example, supported employment is an evidence-based practice (EBT) that addresses the employment provisions of Title I of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is usually mistakenly associated with the protection limited only to individuals with physical disabilities. In response to the situation, the EEOC issued the Enforcement Guidance on the ADA and Psychiatric Disabilities on how the employment provisions of the ADA apply to persons with psychiatric disabilities. Therefore, from the critical perspective, the ADA provides adequate non-discriminatory protection for persons with psychiatric disabilities and its primary intention is not to provide unconditional protections for people with psychiatric disabilities but rather to ensure that individuals with these disabilities do not endure unjust discrimination in the workplace.
The ADA is designed specifically with t...
ADA TITLE I PROHIBITING EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION
The ADA is designed specifically with two essential purposes: (a) to incorporate individuals with disabilities into the mainstream of American society and (b) to protect them against disability-directed discrimination (Peterson & Aguiar, 2004). Among its five sections, Title I ensures equal access to employment opportunities including hiring, job training, promotion, or the discharge process for qualified individuals with a disability who are working in private sector workplaces with 15 or more employees. Although legislation had addressed discrimination in employment based on disability in the public sector (e.g., Section
501, 503, and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973), Title I in the ADA includes private sector employment and has more detailed terms and procedural guidelines. Terms include essential functions of the job, reasonable accommodation, undue hardship, and procedural guidelines in regard to the job application process, contractual relationships, and enforcement of Title I (Rubin & Roessler, 2001). Essential functions of the job are critical for satisfying the ADA definition for "qualified individuals with disability" with or without reasonable accommodation. To merit ADA protection under the ADA, an individual has to prove that his or her disability fits the ADA's definition of disability and that he or she has the expertise or ability to perform the essential functions of the job. Essential functions include "requisite skill, experience, education, and other jobrelated requirements of the employment position that such an individual holds or desires, and who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of such position"