Discrimination Based on Disability

If you're dealing a disabling injury or illness, you might worry about when you'll be able to get back to working and earning an income. It's hard to return to work for anyone who has been out of the workforce for a long period of time, regardless of the reasons. Those dealing with lasting disabilities, however, have to keep in mind the possibility of discrimination in the workplace.

Discrimination is illegal and is a practice that needs to be changed if you encounter it. The Coye Law Firm works for employee rights in the course of their discrimination or injury cases. If you find that an employer uses your disability as a reason when deciding whether or not to hire, fire, promote, or demote you, you need an attorney immediately. A disability lawyer at the Coye Law Firm can help you file a claim within the time limit, protect you from lost wages or benefits, protect you from retaliation, and prevent professional limitations or disputes.


Legislation to Protect Employees

Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 to protect the rights and interests of disabled Americans. If a person is qualified to perform a job, then under this law, an employer, employment agency, labor organization, state government, or local government can not discriminate against an applicant based on their physical or mental limitation.

A person is considered to have a "disability" when they:
  • have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of life's major activities
  • have a record of the impairment
  • are regarded as having such an impairment
Work programs help to introduce disabled people back to the workplace while they continue to receive benefits, so the affiliated agencies and employers can make reasonable accommodations for these individuals. A recent amendment to the ADA requires employers to cover and work with employees whose disabilities are manageable and not constantly debilitating, such as epilepsy or depression.

Employer Responsibilities

Unless it relates directly to your ability to perform a specific job, the employer is not allowed to ask you:
  • if you have a disability
  • how severe your disability is
  • about the nature of your disability
  • to take a medical exam unless everyone other employee has as well
Employers are also expected to make reasonable accommodations for their employees with disabilities. This could be restructuring a small-scale facility, providing assistive equipment, or purchasing training material. The employer is not required to buy glasses, hearing aids, or other materials that are considered "personal use" items. If the accommodations are too expensive in relation to the company's size, then they may not be required to make the changes.

Your disability has taken you out of work and prevented you from earning an income. When you're ready to go back to work, don't let discrimination keep you from making a full economic recovery. Call the Coye Law Disability Center if you suspect discrimination is taking place. We can help you resolve the matter and protect your rights.