Were you eliminated from the interview because of your medical condition? Do you think your boss isn’t treating you fairly, just like other employees, due to your disability? It can be medical discrimination at work, and you have rights against it!
Discrimination in the workplace is not new, and it doesn’t even spare people with disabilities. According to Nasdaq statistics, 55% of employees have experienced discrimination at their current company. In addition, some statistics from BLS revealed that only 19.3% of people with disabilities were employed in 2019, and the percentage of employees without a disability was 66.3%.
While there are laws that prohibit this type of discrimination, it still happens.
Here’s everything you should know about medical discrimination at work and what to do about it. We’ve covered all information, including the anti-discriminatory laws in New York and how you can prove your claims.
What is Considered Medical Discrimination at Work?
Medical condition discrimination at work refers to any form of discrimination that is based on an employee’s existing or current medical condition. This can include discrimination in hiring, promotion, job assignments, and termination, as well as other terms and conditions of employment.
Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee or job applicant differently because of a medical condition or disability.
For example, an employer might refuse to hire someone because they have a medical condition, such as physical or mental impairment, that the employer believes would interfere with their ability to perform the job.
Or an employer might demote an employee because either they or someone depending on them has a serious health condition that requires the employee to take time off work.
If an employer fails to make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s medical condition, it is also considered medical discrimination in the workplace.
» More: 5 Types of Discrimination in the Workplace
How to Know if You Have Been Discriminated Against at Work
While discrimination is evident to the person, who’s being discriminated against. It may sometimes be subtle, and finding that your employer is discriminating against you becomes challenging.
Before we tell you about some examples of medical discrimination, it’s important to understand the types of discrimination based on disabilities. Generally, there are two types: direct discrimination, and indirect or subtle discrimination.
When an employer discriminates against you, and it’s clearly visible, for example, they’ve fired you because you started taking leaves due to conditions caused by mental or physical impairment, it is considered direct discrimination.
This type of subtle discrimination is not as evident as direct discrimination. For example, if an employer makes a policy not to hire people with certain conditions, it might not look like discrimination, but it could be.
According to New York employment laws, medical discrimination at work, irrespective of its type, is unlawful, and the affected person can take action against the discriminators.
Some common scenarios that show your employer has discriminated against you based on your medical condition.
They Refused to Hire You
If the employer has refused to hire you because you have a medical condition that they believe would interfere with your ability to perform the job. Refusing to hire can either be direct or indirect discrimination depending on several factors, but it is against the law.
Not hiring someone because of their disability is not illegal in every case. For example, if a job requires strenuous activity like woodworking, it is not possible for a person with certain medical conditions to fulfill the criteria required by the employer. In such cases, it might not be considered medical discrimination.
» More: What to do if You Didn’t Get The Job Because of Discrimination!
Professional employment attorneys in New York can help you understand whether the refusal was due to discrimination or other reasons. Call 866-351-0116 for a free consultation, and appoint the finest lawyers with Levine & Blit, if there stands a case against the employer.
You Were Demoted
While there can be many reasons behind the demotion, it might include the medical condition. In order to avoid any legal consequences, some employers consider demoting an employee, giving sham reasons.
If you think that you were demoted because of your disability, since you applied for leaves, it could be due to discrimination.
You Were Terminated
Termination can be a clear indication of medical discrimination. Sometimes employers terminate an employee because they have a disability or a certain medical condition, which they think can prevent the individual from being able to perform the job properly. These medical conditions could be anything, such as mobility impairments, vision impairments, or learning disabilities.
Terminating an employee because of their disability shows that medical discrimination exists in the organization. If the same has happened to you, the law gives you the right to take action against the employer.
The Employer Failed to Make a Reasonable Accommodation
According to employment discrimination laws, every employer, whether in New York or any other state of the U.S., must make necessary arrangements for employees with a permanent disability or a temporary medical condition.
Not having such arrangements in the facility can lead to such employees calling quit or having difficulties performing day-to-day activities. The court of law also considers this as a type of medical discrimination against employees.
The Difference in Pay or Other Employment Benefits
Every employee, irrespective of their disability or medical condition, has the right to receive equal pay and employment benefits as other employees of the same designation. For example, if your co-workers receive more salary for the same work, then it could be because of discrimination against you.
You Were Harassed
Passing comments on someone because of their disability or medical condition is also considered discrimination in the workplace. This might include comments about the employee’s appearance, jokes about their condition, or exclusion from company events because of their condition. If you were harassed by your manager or coworkers, it could be medical discrimination.
Being sure that your employer discriminated against you is certainly not easy because it sometimes happens in a subtle manner. Do you think you are a victim of medical discrimination and want to learn about your legal options?
Contact Levine and Blit to determine if you really are medically discriminated against by the employer and the best course of action. From helping you claim fair compensation to getting that job back, we can help you get everything you legally deserve.
How to Prove Medical Discrimination
Once you are sure that your employer has discriminated against you or someone else you know, you can take action against it.
Proving discrimination, especially medical discrimination, is not easy because the burden of proof is on you. Here are some steps to take to prove your claims in court and get compensated for the suffering.
Talk to the HR
It’s generally a good idea to report the discrimination to your employer’s human resources (HR) department because they are responsible for handling such complaints and investigating any potential violations of the company’s non-discrimination policy.
If you have experienced medical discrimination at work, informing HR about the incident ensures that you brought it to light. Furthermore, the HR departments are meant to handle such incidents, and you can expect a resolution as well.
The law also requires you to inform the employer about discriminatory practices. If you want to prove your claims in court, you must inform human resources or any other department that deals with such problems.
Gather the Necessary and Relevant Evidence
Producing enough relevant evidence is important to establish your claims. The evidence can include anything such as medical records, emails or other communications, witness statements, and any other documentation that relates to your treatment or the circumstances of the discrimination.
One thing to note here is that in New York, it is illegal to record someone’s conversations without their consent, so it’s better to let the people know that you are recording the conversations.
Hire an Attorney
Hiring a professional medical discrimination attorney holds significant importance in such cases. The law gives every employee the right to file a complaint, and an attorney will help you file a complaint with the right organization, such as EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).
Moreover, attorneys have legal matter expertise, and they will tell you if there is enough evidence to support your claims.
File a Complaint
Depending on the type of discrimination you experienced, you may need to file a complaint with a government agency, such as EEOC or the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This is usually the first step in pursuing a discrimination case.
If you hire an attorney, they take care of the legal requirements for filing the complaint. In addition, the attorneys can help you file complaints with multiple departments depending on the circumstances.
Prepare for Court
Mostly, the case gets resolved after you file a complaint with the right government organization. However, if you are still not happy with the outcome and want to take things further, you can prepare the case for court with the help of an attorney. By filing the case in court, you can claim the damages you have suffered.
Proving that you are a victim of medical discrimination at work is challenging, plus the burden of proof is on you. Professional discrimination lawyers at Levine and Blit can help you gather evidence, file a complaint, negotiate with the employer, and prepare for court. Call us at 866-351-0116 for a free case evaluation, and learn more about your rights.
Laws in New York Around Medical Discrimination
There are several laws in New York that prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on disability and medical history. The four most important laws include the following:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
According to this act, all federal employers or employers in New York cannot discriminate against their employees based on any disability or medical condition. The act comes into enforcement if an employee gets discriminated against by the company on the basis of employment.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
This law is related to job-protected and unpaid leave for specific family and medical reasons. According to this act, the employees are entitled to receive leaves in such circumstances with the continuation of their health coverage as offered by the employer for situations like caring for a child or spouse or helping a parent with a serious medical condition.
(Here’s everything you should know about FMLA and Paid Family Leave)
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Under Title VII, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee or job applicant on the basis of their disability or medical history in any aspect of employment, including hiring, promotions, pay, job assignments, and firing.
It is also unlawful for an employer to create a hostile work environment or retaliate against an employee for opposing discriminatory practices or participating in an investigation or lawsuit related to discrimination.
Title VII applies to all employers covered by the law, regardless of size. However, certain exemptions apply to religious organizations and certain types of private clubs.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
This is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. It also establishes an affirmative action mandate for federal contractors and subcontractors to take steps to hire, retain, and promote qualified individuals with disabilities.
Since most protections offered by this act are similar to ADA, the authorities that resolve such concerns are the same.
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
The GINA act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of genetic information in employment and health insurance.
The act forbids New York employers from using genetic information to make employment decisions. Such as refusing to hire, demoting, or terminating an employee solely based on their genetic information.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
Under the PDA, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee or job applicant on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The PDA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with pregnancy-related medical conditions unless doing so would cause undue hardship.
Not amending the guidelines of PDA means the employer has discriminated against the employee, and the law offers protection to the affected individual (s).
Let Levine & Blit Help You Deal with the Medical Discrimination Case
Medical discrimination at work comes with a lot of stress, and it even puts a financial burden on several employees that lose their job due to the circumstances. At Levine and Blit, we fight employer misconduct in New York, be it in any form, including medical or disability discrimination.
Our highly-qualified attorneys help you prove your claims while recovering the damages you’ve suffered due to the misconduct.
Dial 866-351-0116 to speak to our professional medical discrimination lawyers for a free case evaluation and know how you can stand a case against the employer.