TA Coalition Webinar: ADA and Employment Rights and Protections

People with mental health conditions work successfully in all sectors of the American economy. Work can be an important part of recovery, offering income, stability, a daily routine and a sense of purpose. Yet, people with mental health conditions remain unemployed and underemployed at higher rates than the general population. Stigma and discrimination are very real barriers in the workplace. This webinar examines the relationship between employment and recovery, the rights of individuals with psychiatric disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and similar antidiscrimination laws. In particular, this webinar will address the concept of reasonable accommodations and disclosure of disability, give examples of commonly requested accommodations, and walk through the process of requesting accommodations. Finally, it will address available remedies for individuals who may have experienced discrimination in the workplace.



Lou Orslene serves as the Co-Director of the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). JAN is the leading source of free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. As a service of the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), JAN’s professional consultants manage more than 48,000 inquiries and conduct more than 160 trainings annually.


As a part of his leadership role at JAN, Lou provides training throughout the U.S., facilitates the strategic planning process, manages strategic partnerships, and works closely with outreach and education staff. Lou has also taken on the role of assisting other interested countries in replicating the JAN model.

Lou graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with dual Master's degrees in Public and International Affairs and Social Work. Lou also holds a certification in Disability Management as well as a certificate in Managing Public and Non-profit Organizations. He holds an undergraduate degree in Human Resource Management.

Lou’s presentations are informed by 25 years in the field of disability employment and through collaborations with groups such as the US Business Leadership Network, Disability Management Employers Coalition, Assistive Technology Industry Association, and the American Association of People with Disabilities among others.


Claudia Center is a Senior Staff Attorney in the Disability Rights Program of the national ACLU Foundation. She was previously the director of the disability rights program at the Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center, where she founded the Workers' Rights Disability Law Clinic at the Ed Roberts Campus. She litigates cases advancing rights for persons with disabilities, and is actively involved in appellate and legislative work. In 2009, she received the Paul G. Hearne Award for Disability Rights from the ABA Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law (now the Commission on Disability Rights). She played a key role in the passage of comprehensive amendments to the FEHA that succeeded in broadening protections for persons with disabilities in employment and housing. She argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in US Airways, Inc. v. Barnett, a case that confirmed the scope of “reasonable accommodations” for disabled employees. She has served as an adjunct professor teaching disability rights law at Hastings College of the Law and at Berkeley Law. Following law school, Ms. Center was a staff attorney at the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) in Washington, D.C. and a recipient of the Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship. She attended Berkeley Law (J.D., 1991) and Wesleyan University (B.A., 1987).