Disability Discrimination at the Workplace and Americans with Disability Act

Published On July 30, 2018 | By Rocco Agwu | Law

Disability discrimination is inequitable behaviour at the workplace in which an employer takes adverse action against an employee because of the employee’s disability. Disability discrimination occurs when someone in a workplace takes a major adverse employment action such as firing or reducing pay because of the employee’s physical inability to perform work without the assistance of a reasonable accommodation.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and many other similar state and local laws safeguard workers from disability discrimination in the workplace. An employer cannot discriminate against the disabled employees in hiring, firing, promotions, profits, training or any other major aspect of the job.

Who is protected?

The ADA shields:

  • An employee having physical or mental disabilities that considerably impair the person’s ability to perform one or more major activities.
  • An individual who has a record of having a disability in the past.
  • An employee who is regarded as having a disability even if no disability actually exists.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

Any employee with a disability is authorized to apply for reasonable accommodations to help them do their job. A reasonable accommodation is an alteration at the workplace that permits a person with disabilities to perform vital tasks. Some of the examples of reasonable accommodations are:

  • Changing the work schedule of an employee
  • Permitting the disabled employee to take extra breaks
  • Making services available to the disabled employee like lowering the desks to make him comfortable while sitting in a wheelchair
  • Providing voice activated software accessible to an employee with carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Changing tests and training resources
  • Offering to relax certain workplace rules

Examples of discrimination

If you have any lack of clarity about the ADA and its legal protections, you should consult a lawyer in case you are facing disability discrimination in the workplace. The following are some common forms in which discrimination might occur:

  • Not considering a disabled person for an interview
  • Not hiring a person with a disability even after learning that the disability won’t cause any difficulty in the workplace
  • Dismissing an employee after he or she has become disabled
  • Not promoting a disabled worker due to the fear that their disability might weaken job performance at higher levels
  • Paying less or not providing bonuses to disabled workers
  • Demoting a disabled worker to a less desirable role at work
  • Harassing the disabled employee by making fun of him or making offensive comments
  • Not providing reasonable accommodations to the worker who becomes disabled during the period of employment
  • Not allowing the disabled employee to take a break from work to manage their disability or take medications
  • Denying extra accommodations that can help making the disabled employee comfortable

If you are experiencing any of these difficulties at your workplace or if you were invited to an interview and felt like you are discriminated against due to your disability, you should hire an experienced employment discrimination attorney immediately. To protect you rights and take legal action, you will have to file a case of discrimination as soon possible. A lawyer can provide you will all the legal assistance you need.

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