Employers are subject to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 if they receive grants from the federal government or have federal contracts in excess of $2,500.00 annually. Under this act, an employer is required to provide reasonable accommodation to applicants with disabilities. This may include wheelchair access, removal of architectural barriers, adjustments of furniture and equipment and special aids for telephones.
As of July 26, 1994, employers with fifteen of more employees are subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). ADA requirements mirror those of the Rehabilitation Act.
The courts have held that disabilities are not limited to common physical impairments. They may also include obesity, suicidal tendencies, borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome, diabetes, and allergies to tobacco smoke. Alcoholics and drug addicts are also considered handicapped unless their condition currently prevents them from performing the job adequately. The majority of states have also decided that AIDS is a physical handicap entitled to protection.