Disability
discrimination

Discrimination based on disability occurs anytime
you, as an employee, are treated unfairly or differently due to your disability.

The United States government adopted the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), making it unlawful for people with disabilities to be discriminated against or harassed in the workplace because of their disability. The ADA, however, is complex, and it is often difficult for employers and employees to understand it fully. As a result, disability discrimination in the workplace is still common. People with disabilities do not always understand their rights, and employers are sometimes unaware of their obligations to provide accommodations. 

At Bracken Lamberton, we are dedicated to ending disability discrimination in the workplace. If you are a person with a disability and believe that your employer is discriminating against you, please contact us for a free disability discrimination case consultation. We have the experience and knowledge to protect your rights and obtain any compensation that you rightly deserve. 

What is disability discrimination?

Discrimination based on disability occurs anytime you, as an employee, are treated unfairly or differently due to your disability. The unfair treatment may be in the form of harassment that you are subjected to as part of a hostile work environment, as well as being demoted or fired. Disability discrimination may also exist at the interview stage if a potential employer decides not to hire you because you are an individual with a disability.

The ADA covers individuals with any physical or psychological impairment. You are also safeguarded from discrimination if your employer perceives that you have a disability. For example, the ADA protects you should an employer believe you to have limited ability to perform job tasks even when you do not have such limitations. 

What is a reasonable accommodation?

The ADA requires your employer to approve and provide reasonable accommodations for you because of your disability. The only exception occurs when the needed accommodation would be too difficult or too expensive for your employer to provide. 

A reasonable accommodation is considered any change in your job duties or in the work environment that helps you do your job, enjoy the privilege of being employed or even apply for a job in the first place.

Types of Reasonable Accommodations:

  • Provision of accessible and/or reserved parking
  • Alterations in job tasks
  • Improved accessibility of the work area
  • Adjust or provide accessible software, equipment, or products
  • Changes in the presentation of training materials or tests
  • Allowing a flexible work schedule
  • Reassignment to a vacant position that is more accommodating
  • Provision of a service or aid to improve access. 

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

Accessible Parking – Your employer can change their practices or rule of only providing reserved parking to members of upper management. If you are a person with a physical impairment or disability that limits your mobility or if you require an access aisle, your employer can reasonably accommodate you by providing you with an accessible and reserved parking space that is near to the entrance of the workplace.

Equipment Change – If you have a disability that limits your vision, your employer can purchase software that will magnify your computer screen to help you enter and ready information correctly when using the computer. 

Service Animals – Your employer can change their “no pet” policy to allow you to bring your service animal to the office.

Alternative Formats – You can request that an employer give feedback in writing instead of verbally if, due to your disability, you communicate more effectively through writing. 

What is a failure to accommodate?

The ADA requires your employer to approve your request for a reasonable accommodation if it is reasonable. An accommodation request is considered to be reasonable if it causes no undue hardship to your employer and if having it allows you to perform your essential job duties. If your employer fails to provide the accommodation, they may likely be violating the ADA. 

Damages for Disability Discrimination

If your employer refuses or fails to accommodate you or terminates you because you have a disability, this may be disability discrimination. Under the ADA, a victim of disability discrimination is entitled to recover money damages. Such damages may include:

Lost wages – This is the amount of wages that you have lost due to the discrimination.

Lost benefits – This may include any lost sick time, vacation time, and retirement or pension benefits. 

Lost future wages – This would include the loss of any money that you lose in the future. For example, if you have difficulty finding work after your employer fires you or you have to accept another job making less money than you made previously in your terminated position.

Emotional Distress – These damages are typically divided into two different categories, which are garden variety and non-garden variety. Emotional distress that is garden variety includes those individuals who have sought no medical treatment or mental health services for their distress. Non-garden variety includes persons who have received treatment for distress. Generally, the money damages are greater for those who have received some form of treatment for the distress. 

Punitive Damages – This type of money damages is intended to punish your employer for discriminating against you.

Attorney’s Fee – These fees are often a large portion of damages awarded. The court can choose to award the successful attorney their hourly rate for all the hours that they worked on your disability discrimination case. 

What is disability discrimination retaliation?

The ADA protects you from your employer retaliating against you for protecting your rights against disability discrimination. 

Examples of Disability Discrimination and Retaliation:

  • Your employer firing you after you request a reasonable accommodation
  • Being treated differently than employees without a disability
  • Being terminated because you took leave because of your disability
  • Harassment or hostile work environment
  • Being denied promotions because you filed a disability discrimination complaint

If you have a disability or impairment (physical or mental) and believe that your employer is discriminating or retaliating against you, we encourage you to contact Bracken Lamberton for a free case review. We will carefully listen to your story, take the time to answer your questions, and help you determine if you have a disability discrimination case. We have extensive experience and success in handling disability discrimination cases, and we can help you too. 

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