Living with a physical or mental disability can be a challenge for anyone, as they might have to face certain barriers in life that others might not face. Still, many disabled individuals do not let their disability stand in the way of achieving their goals and making amazing contributions to society.
Unfortunately, some employers tend to have negative perceptions about disabled individuals and discriminate against them – even if they are qualified otherwise. As a result, many disabled individuals are denied the employment opportunities they rightfully deserve.
If you are a victim of disability discrimination at work, the award-winning New York disability discrimination lawyers at Levine & Blit can hold your employer accountable for violating state and federal laws and protect your rights. To know more about your legal rights as a disabled worker, contact us today at 646-461-6838 and talk to an experienced New York disability discrimination lawyer.
What Constitutes Workplace Disability Discrimination?
Disability discrimination involves treating a disabled individual less favorably, putting them at a disadvantage, and denying them employment opportunities and work-related benefits because of their disability.
Recognizing Disability Discrimination in Workplaces
Disability discrimination can take many forms. It’s critical to know what constitutes workplace disability discrimination so that you can take steps to protect your rights at the workplace. The most common forms of workplace disability discrimination include:
- Not hiring you because of your disability
- Not offering you the same opportunities for career advancement that other employees are offered
- Cutting your hours even though you are capable of working just as effectively as other employees
- Denying you promotions, pay raises, incentives, commissions, bonuses, and other benefits that are offered to other employees
- Teasing you and cracking jokes at your disability
- Making inappropriate, insensitive, or offensive comments about your disability
- Forcing you to perform job-related tasks that can aggravate or worsen your disability
- Failing to provide you with reasonable accommodation as required by law
- Taking adverse action against you for filing a disability discrimination complaint
Legal Protections Available for Disabled Employees
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The ADA is a federal law that prohibits all forms of discrimination against disabled individuals in workplaces, government services, commercial facilities, public transportation, as well as a wide range of other settings.
The three key aspects of the ADA are – disability, qualified workers, and reasonable accommodation.
Disability – The ADA defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that affects a person’s ability to perform day-to-day activities (sitting, standing, walking, communicating with others, performing manual tasks, and so on) or affects their bodily functions (digestive function, bowel function, endocrine function, neurological function, and so on).
Qualified Workers – The ADA covers qualified disabled workers who can perform the essential or fundamental duties of a job – with or without requiring reasonable accommodation from their employer.
Reasonable Accommodation – The ADA defines reasonable accommodation as an adjustment or modification to the work environment that can help a disabled individual perform their job. Common examples of reasonable accommodation include flexible work schedules, making the workplace more accessible, allowing the employee to take time off for medical treatments, and more.
Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation to their disabled employees – except in cases where doing so might cause them undue hardship. For example, if the accommodation requested is too expensive or if it might be too disruptive to the work environment, the employer can deny the request.
Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Rehabilitation Act prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals in programs that receive federal financial assistance. Any entity that receives federal financial assistance in the form of grants or funding is prohibited from discriminating against disabled individuals who are otherwise qualified.
Federal laws against disability discrimination are enforced by a number of federal agencies. Title I of the ADA is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Title II of the ADA is enforced by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Sections 501 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are enforced by the EEOC. Section 503 is enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
Steps for Building Disabled-Friendly Workplaces
Key steps that employers can take to build disabled-friendly workplaces include:
- Conducting an accessibility assessment of the workplace to determine what needs to be done
- Calibrating the hiring process to make sure disabled job applicants are not denied of the opportunities they deserve
- Conducting training programs to raise disability awareness among employees
- Building or modifying infrastructure to make it more accessible
- Sensitizing employees about signs of overt and subtle ableism that can offend or harm disabled employees
- Choosing disabled employees for leadership positions so that they can serve as role models for other disabled employees
- Adopting a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy and instituting an easy-to-access complaint mechanism for disabled employees
How the Experienced Disability Discrimination Attorneys at Levine & Blit Can Help You
If you are a victim of workplace disability discrimination, we can explain your legal rights to you and tell you about the options available for you to get justice.
We can help you file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency. If your complaint is dismissed or not resolved by the agency, we can file a claim against your employer for violating state and federal anti-discrimination laws.
We can fight for your right to get the employment-related benefits and compensatory damages you deserve through negotiation or litigation.
Get Legal Representation from the Proven and Trusted Disability Discrimination Lawyers in New York
At Levine & Blit, we are committed to doing our part in eliminating workplace discrimination in all its forms. If you have been discriminated against and denied of opportunities due to your disability, we can provide the legal assistance you need in your fight against injustice.
Our compassionate and capable employment discrimination attorneys can help you file a complaint against your employer and represent you during administrative proceedings as well as legal proceedings. We will fight tirelessly to get you all the benefits that you were deprived of.