Discrimination based on disability is a serious violation of your rights as an employee. When facing such a situation, it is imperative that you seek legal advice from a disability discrimination lawyer.
This blog explores your options for fighting workplace discrimination and how an employment disability discrimination lawyer can help.
What is Disability Discrimination?
Disability discrimination is the unfair or unequal treatment of individuals with disabilities in the workplace. It occurs when an employer, supervisor, or coworker treats a disabled employee unfavorably because of their disability, whether physical or mental. This type of discrimination is morally wrong and illegal under various federal and state laws.
Types of Disability Discrimination
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), disability discrimination can manifest in various forms, such as:
- Direct Discrimination: This typically happens when an employer treats a disabled employee less favorably than other employees solely because of their disability.
- Indirect Discrimination: Indirect discrimination happens when an employer enforces policies or practices that disproportionately negatively impact individuals with disabilities.
- Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodations: The law requires employers to accommodate disabled employees to ensure they have equal access to employment opportunities unless doing so would create an undue hardship.
Who Can Be a Victim of Disability Discrimination?
Anyone with a physical or mental impairment substantially limiting one or more major life activities can be a victim of disability discrimination. This includes individuals with mobility impairments, sensory impairments, chronic health conditions, mental health disorders, intellectual disabilities, and more.
It is significant to note that disability discrimination can happen during the hiring process, throughout employment, or even after termination.
Reasons to Hire an Employment Disability Discrimination Lawyer
When facing disability discrimination in the workplace, consulting an experienced employment disability discrimination lawyer can significantly increase your chances of achieving justice. There are a plethora of reasons why it is imperative to hire a lawyer:
- Knowledge of Employment Laws: An employment disability discrimination lawyer specializes in this law area and deeply understands the relevant federal and state laws, regulations, and legal precedents. Legal experts can assist you in navigating the complex legal framework and protecting your rights.
- Investigation and Evidence: A lawyer will thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and document instances of discrimination. You will be presented with a strong case that will be crafted and presented effectively in court by experienced attorneys.
- Negotiation and Settlement: A skilled lawyer will negotiate with your employer or legal representatives for a fair settlement. Their goal is to protect your rights and ensure you receive appropriate compensation for the discrimination you have endured.
The Basics of Employment Disability Discrimination Cases
It is significant to understand the basic facts of employment disability discrimination cases to navigate them successfully. Here are some key aspects:
Definition of "Disability" Under the Law
The definition of disability varies based on the laws that apply to your case. In general, disability refers to impairment that substantially limits major life activities like walking, seeing, hearing, or learning.
Reasonable Accommodations for Disabled Employees
Generally, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees, such as modified work schedules, specialized equipment, or adjustments to job tasks, to enable them to perform their duties effectively.
Essential Functions and Undue Hardship in the Workplace
It is possible for employers to argue that accommodating disabled employees would create an undue hardship for their companies. However, they must demonstrate that the accommodation would impose significant difficulty or expense.
Legal Rights for Victims of Disability Discrimination in the Workplace
Employees who have faced disability discrimination can file a complaint with the EEOC or their state's fair employment practices agency. Their employer may also be liable for legal action.
Examples of Disability Discrimination in the Workplace
Disability discrimination can take various forms, including failure to hire or promote disabled individuals, unequal pay, harassment, unfair job assignments, and termination based on disability.
Claiming Damages Through a Private Employer or Government Agency
In the event that you have experienced disability discrimination at work, you may be eligible for damages. You can claim compensation if you have been the victim of severe and ongoing discrimination. Here are some important points to consider:
Punitive Damages in Employment Disability Cases
Occasionally, courts award punitive damages to punish employers for particularly egregious acts of discrimination. Punitive damages are intended to deter future misconduct and can significantly increase your compensation.
Private Employers Versus Federal/State Agencies and Equal Protection Laws
The type of claim you file depends on whether it is with a private employer or a government agency, such as the EEOC or the Department of Labor. The applicable laws and procedures may vary, so it is crucial to consult an experienced lawyer to determine the best course of action.
How A Lawyer Can Help with Your Case
Navigating an employment disability discrimination case can be challenging, but an experienced lawyer can provide invaluable assistance. Here's how they can help:
Investigating Claims and Presenting Evidence to Court
A lawyer will thoroughly investigate your case, gather relevant evidence, interview witnesses, and prepare a strong legal strategy. They will present your case effectively in court, advocating for your rights and seeking compensation.
Seeking justice in the face of disability discrimination requires expertise and legal guidance. An employment disability discrimination lawyer can be your ally in the fight for your rights.
By understanding the basics of disability discrimination, the legal protections available, and how a lawyer can assist you, you are better equipped to navigate the complex legal landscape and achieve a favorable outcome. Concerned about disability discrimination? Consult an experienced lawyer today to seek the justice you deserve.
Are you living in California? Check out our blog on Understanding Disability Laws in California to learn about your rights.