Disability discrimination is a very complex area of employment law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act are two federal laws that protect employees and job applicants from disability discrimination. Most states also have laws that protect workers from disability discrimination.
Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees and applicants with disabilities. What all this means can be a confusing and create uncertainties for people with disabilities and employers alike. If you believe that you have been a victim of disability discrimination in the workplace, an experienced disability discrimination attorney can help you determine if you have a claim and help you pursue the compensation or remedies appropriate for your situation.
Who is Protected from Disability Discrimination?
Under federal law you are protected from disability discrimination if you:
- Currently have a disability
- Have a history of having had a disability
- Are perceived as having a disability, whether or not you really do
- Have a relationship with a person with a disability
Employers are not required to hire disabled people simply because they are disabled. You still have to be able to do the job. But, in many cases the ability to do the job with a disability merely requires a reasonable accommodation made by the employer. For instance, wheelchair accessibility is typically considered a reasonable accommodation. Reasonable accommodations can be any type of change to the workplace or how things are done. It could be as simple as having you work in a different part of the building than someone in your position normally would or offering a position at a different location.
Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to existing employees and to job applicants. However, there are limitations on what can be demanded. Each situation is unique. If the accommodation is too expensive or too hard to accomplish when considering the employer’s circumstances, such as what they can afford to pay to make the change, it may be considered an undue hardship and they may not have to do it.
If you would like to learn more about disability discrimination and your legal rights, find a qualified law firm in your area.