Disability discrimination is treating people differently in their place of work or employment due to their disability, association with disabled individuals, or perceived disabilities.
Types of disability discrimination include: getting discriminated against because of physical or mental impairment in different situations including firing, promotions, benefits, pay, recruitment, job assignments, leaves, lay off, training, and other activities related to employment.
Other situations that form the basis of discrimination in the workplace include:
- Refusing to be given reasonable accommodation as an employee with a disability
- Facing harassment as an employee because of a disability
- Having a workplace with significant physical barriers that make it difficult for disabled employees to move with ease
- Being made fun of or mocked because of a disability
- Making it mandatory for applicants to take medical exams or being asked questions about their current or past medical conditions
Federal and State Laws That Cover People With Disabilities
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), employment discrimination is illegal for employers whether they’re state and local governments, private, labor unions, and employment agencies. They should not discriminate against disabled and qualified individuals in hiring, job qualification procedures, firing, job training, compensation, advancements, and other employment privileges, terms, and conditions.
There are other sections in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or ADA that address discrimination aspects in public accommodations and governmental agencies even if they’re not associated with employment.
Another federal law, The Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. § 791), protects individuals against discrimination by federal agencies in their programs, employment opportunities by Federal contractors, in Federal employment practices, and Federal financial assistance programs.
The main similarity between Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act is that the standard for ascertaining illegal discrimination in employment practices is the same. There are other laws or legal options that make it illegal to discriminate against disability but these two laws specifically prohibit employers from discriminating against disabled employees.
In Pittsburg, under Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against their employees on the basis of color, religion, race, sex, age (40 and above), and non-job-related disabilities. It is also illegal under this Pennsylvania law to discriminate against an individual if he or she is associated with a disabled person, for creed, national origin, refusal or willingness to participate in sterilization or abortion, or diploma possession upon passing a GED or General education development test.
Who Is A Disabled Person Under The Law?
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing the disabilities acts such as ADA and other employment laws. According to EEOC, an applicant or employee is said to be disabled when they have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or several major life activities. Examples of disabilities covered under ADA are:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Mobility impairment
- Bipolar Disorder
- Intellectual impairment
- Cancer, and
- Much more
Employees who work for employers with more than 15 employees are protected by the ADA. However, employees working for employers with less than 15 employees are still protected by other laws. An experienced Pennsylvania disability discrimination attorney will be able to help you file a discrimination claim with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission irrespective of the number of employees in your place of work.
If you hire good attorneys from are reputable law firms when you’ve experienced discrimination. They’ll help you get financial compensatory damages if you sue your employer for punitive damages, pain, and suffering, cost of job searches, lost wages, loss of joy of life, mental anguish, and much more.
Also, the ADA also protects people who are “regarded or treated as having an impairment” even though a person might not have any impairment.
What Are Reasonable Accommodations?
If you can perform all your job’s essential functions, apart from those that your disability inhibits you from doing, most state disability laws, including Pennsylvania, and the ADA, require the employer to enable you to be treated fairly by providing “Reasonable Accommodation”. You should enjoy your rights as a person without disabilities including equal employment rights like other employees.
Reasonable accommodations vary and they will depend on the applicant’s or employee’s needs. Not all disabled individuals need the same reasonable accommodations which may include:
1. Modifying or acquiring devices or equipment, adjusting training materials, modifying examinations or policies, and providing interpreters or readers.
2. Ensuring facilities used by employees are readily available for use by people with disabilities. These include work schedules modifications, job restructuring, and reassigning vacant positions.
Examples of reasonable accommodations specific to certain disabilities include providing interpreters for deaf employees, diabetic employees may need regular breaks during the workdays to monitor their sugar levels and look for the right diet, and many more.
However, employers are not required to lower the quality or standards of their work to allow accommodation nor provide essentials for disabled persons such as hearing aids, glasses, and others.
Why Choose Our Pennsylvania Disability Discrimination Lawyers?
At J.P. Ward & Associates, LLC, we have experienced discrimination attorneys who will successfully handle your case if you’re discriminated against in your place of work. We have helped many employees get financial compensatory damages in a timely manner when they have been discriminated against because of their disability in their places of work.
Our priority in our law firm is to protect all rights of our clients and our attorney fees are fair and affordable. Our attorneys will make sure you get the fair pay that you deserve as a result of your discrimination in your job.
Contact us today and let us help you with your discrimination claim. We’re friendly, understanding, and our attorney-client relationship is always respectful.