Have you ever been treated differently at work because you have a disability?
Unfortunately, we review cases where disability discrimination is an issue, and most clients don’t know their rights or what to do.
What is Disability Discrimination?
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats an individual differently because of a known or suspected disability by:
● Refusing reasonable accommodation to an employee that has a physical or mental disability, which would allow them to work comfortably and efficiently.
● Not allowing an employee with a disability to advance in the workplace such as an increase in pay, work benefits, promotions, additional assignments, training or any other workplace activities.
● Maintaining a workplace that is not disability-friendly, creating obstacles in which an employee with a disability could not function in.
What Would an Example of Disability Discrimination Be?
An example of disability discrimination could be when a worker has been out due to a work injury and has a discussion with the human resources department and employer about coming back to work and having reasonable accommodations. The employer is not helpful, or after they’ve come back to work, some issues arise.
“So many times, I will get a call after the employee has been fired, and they say “Hey. I don’t know why they fired me. It seems like my performance went down; I had some discipline issues after I went back to work when we had a worker’s compensation issue. Suddenly, I’m finding myself being scrutinized,” explains Jeremy Donham.
What Should I Do If I’m Injured at Work?
1. Communicate with your supervisor and with your human relations or human resources departments to make sure they know what your needs are.
2. Apply for Workers Compensation.
3. Maintain written records of medical treatment and company actions
Are There Federal Laws That Protect a Disabled Person?
The Americans with Disabilities Act
This act makes it illegal for private employers, state and local governments, unions or employment agencies to discriminate against qualified individuals who are disabled from participating in promotions/job opportunities, increased training, pay increases, or any other aspect of employment including being fired.
For more information about the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2010 click here. https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm
There are also other statutes such as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, The West Virginia Human Rights Act and many local non-discrimination ordinances and laws. Disability discrimination under many of these Acts follow similar legal elements.
Is It Illegal for My Employer to Discriminate Against Me Because I Have a Disability?
The first part of the ADA definition of a person with a disability applies to individuals who have impairments that limit major life aspects such as:
● Performing manual tasks
● Caring for oneself
If an individual has one of the following, they may also be covered under the ADA:
● HIV infection
● Substantial visual, hearing impairments
● Mental retardation
The following individuals may not be covered under the ADA unless something more serious has occurred: People who have minor sprains, broken limbs or people who have the flu.
Jeremy Donham | Disability Discrimination and Retaliation at Work
Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees. This includes providing:
● Necessary safety equipment
● A properly maintained building
● Any needed tools that are adequate to safely do the job
When an employer breaches these duties and an employee is injured, the employer will often be responsible both for the employee’s medical expenses and any lost wages.
If you feel like you’ve been discriminated against at work because of a work injury that lead to a disability, it may be time to seek advice from a lawyer. Call Donham Law today for more information on fighting for your rights in the workplace. Call 717.676.7749