Although most people know that discrimination in the workplace based on race, national origin, color, and religion is unlawful, many are unaware that discrimination against those with disabilities also violates both state and federal law. Furthermore, this prohibition does not just apply to employment, but also applies to public accommodations, transportation, and housing.
How a disability discrimination claim is filed depends on a number of different factors, including where the alleged discriminatory act took place, who committed it, and what types of remedies the claimant is requesting. To ensure that your own disability-related discrimination claim is not dismissed due to a failure to abide by these procedural rules, please contact our dedicated civil rights legal team today.
Disability Discrimination in Employment
The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) protects qualified employees and applicants from being discriminated against because of a disability by private employers, state and local governments, labor unions, and employment agencies. Most employers fall under the ADA’s mandate, as this federal law applies to any employer with 15 or more employees.
The protections offered by the ADA apply to job application procedures, as well as:
- Job training;
- Opportunities for advancement;
- Compensation; and
- Any other conditions, terms, and privileges of employment.
When it comes to employment, applicants and employees cannot be discriminated against in any of these areas, as long as they are qualified to fulfill the duties required of their position. To be considered qualified, an employee or applicant must be able to perform, with or without reasonable accommodation, the essential functions of a specific job.
Defining Reasonable Accommodations
Although what qualifies as a reasonable accommodation depends on the specific circumstances of a case, it is generally understood that reasonable accommodations include:
- Making existing facilities readily accessible to those with disabilities;
- Restructuring a job, reassigning someone to a vacant position, or modifying work schedules to account for a person’s disability; and
- Modifying or acquiring company equipment, providing readers and interpreters, and adjusting examinations, policies, and training materials.
However, it’s important to note that employers and potential employers are only required to make these types of reasonable accommodations if doing so would not impose an undue hardship on the operation of their business. An undue hardship is any action that requires significant expense or difficulty when considered in light of an employer’s financial resources and size, as well as the structure and nature of its operation.
The ADA also protects applicants from being asked about the existence, severity, or nature of a disability, although employers are allowed to ask an applicant about his or her ability to perform specific job functions. Furthermore, job offers can be conditioned on the results of a medical examination. However, this is only true if the examination in question is:
- Required of all entering employees in similar positions; and
- Job related and consistent with the company’s needs.
Finally, employers are not allowed to retaliate against an individual for opposing an employment practice that discriminates against those with disabilities, or for filing a discrimination claim under the ADA.
Call Today for Help with Your Disability Discrimination Claim
To learn more about how the dedicated civil rights attorneys at Wagner Zemming Christensen, LLP can help with your own legal matter, please call 951-686-4800 or complete our brief online contact form.