What Are the Different Kinds of Disability Discrimination in the Workplace?

Photo of a man in a wheelchair

No matter where you work, you should never have the fear that someone will subject you to harassment or discrimination. Unfortunately, disability discrimination is an issue that many U.S. employees face daily. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the EEOC, states that disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other higher entity covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or Rehabilitation Act treats a qualified employee with a disability unfavorably because he or she has a disability.

What Are Different Ways an Employee Might Face Disability Discrimination?

  • Certain work situations. The law prohibits any form of discrimination when it comes to various aspects of employment. These aspects can include hiring, terminating, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoffs, training sessions, fringe benefits and any other kinds of employment terms or conditions.
  • Verbal harassment. Under the law it is illegal to harass a job applicant or employee because he or she has a disability, had a disability in the past, or is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not minor and transitory. This type of harassment can include offensive verbal remarks about a person’s disability that is frequent and severe enough to create a hostile work environment. The harasser can be anyone in the workplace, such as the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another department, a co-worker, or a client or customer.
  • Reasonable accommodation. Disability laws require an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to a job applicant or employee with a disability, unless doing so would pose an undue hardship on the employer. A reasonable accommodation is any adjustment in the work environment to assist a person with a disability apply for a job, perform job duties, or enjoy job benefits and privileges. An employer cannot refuse to provide an accommodation that will cost money. He or she can only do so if the accommodation would be too difficult or expensive due to the employer’s size, financial resources, and business needs.
  • Medical exams. An employer is prohibited from asking a job applicant any medical questions or asking he or she to take a medical exam before extending an official job offer. If a job is offered and accepted, the employer can ask medical questions regarding the employee’s disability, but only if these questions are posed to all new employees in the same type of job.

If you are an employee with a disability and you believe that your employer has discriminated against you, then you can possibly file a discrimination lawsuit. Contact the California workplace discrimination attorneys at Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob today for a free consultation.



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