Disability Discrimination at Work

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with disabilities from being discriminated against in the workplace.  However, it doesn’t mean that people still don’t experience disabilities discrimination.  It’s important to be informed – to recognize disability employment discrimination and to know what to do about it.

Becoming Familiar with Past Cases

One thing that can help individuals understand the disability discrimination act is to become familiar with past cases of disability discrimination, work place discrimination and the resulting lawsuits.  According to the EEOC:

“In its lawsuit, case number CIV-02-92-C in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, the EEOC charged Voss with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) by terminating a long-time employee of its Oklahoma City facility who needed in-patient care due to bipolar disorder, a psychiatric disability. Rather than allow the employee the additional time off recommended by his physicians, Voss fired him by taping a termination letter to the front door of his home, the EEOC said in the suit.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today the settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit against Lincoln, Nebraska-based Voss Electric Company (Voss) for $91,250 on behalf of a former worker with bipolar disorder. Voss is a distributor of commercial lighting products, with 12 branches and 16 sales locations located throughout the central United States.”

There are many other lawsuits disability discrimination cases that individuals have won against employers for disability discrimination.

Recognizing Disability Discrimination at Work

Disability employment discrimination happens when an employer makes decisions regarding an employee based in any way upon a real or perceived disability of that employee.  The employee must be considered a ‘qualified’ individual under the ADA guidelines.  There are some different examples of disability discrimination in the workplace, including but not limited to:

  • An employer refuses to allow a qualified disabled person to take time off in order to seek needed medical help for his or her disability and fires the individual instead.
  • An employer refuses to hire an individual who is fully capable of handling the workload required for the job, simply because he or she has an obvious disability.

Disability Policy at Your Employer

Most companies and businesses have a disability policy that is in accordance to disability discrimination law.  It’s important that individuals know the policies of the companies they work for incase a dispute arises where the individual feels he or she has been the victim of disability discrimination.  Find out exactly what the policy says and how it pertains to the incident(s) that occurred to you.

Legal Help for Disability Discrimination

Since the disability discrimination law is hard to understand and is very fact-based, each discrimination case is different.  The outcome of any lawsuit depends entirely on the facts of the case and how a judge or jury perceives them. 

For this reason, and person who feels that they have been discriminated against should contact a discrimination attorney for a free consultation.  The civil rights attorneys who work with discrimination laws are widely knowledgeable and should be able to help the individual determine whether the case is legitimate and what their next steps should be.

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