According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 20.3 percent of the American labor force has a physical or mental disability. Just like their coworkers, these employees are contributing to the success of the companies they work for and the overall financial health of our economy.
Yet, some employers fail to see past their employees’ disabilities and refuse to provide them the same opportunities as the rest of their staff because they are worried about liability, concerned with the costs of accommodation, or simply hold a bias against them.
Barrett & Farahany, an Atlanta law firm specializing in disability discrimination, is dedicated to helping employees with disabilities understand their rights in the workplace. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment of 2008 (or, the Act), it is illegal for employers with 15 or more employees to discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, advancements, compensation, job training, and conditions and privileges of employment. Some examples of disability discrimination may include:
- Showing prejudice on the basis of disability in all employment-related activities
- Harassing an employee on the basis of his or her disability
- Asking job applicants questions about their past or current medical conditions or requiring job applicants to take medical exams
- Creating or maintaining a workplace that includes substantial physical barriers to the movement of people with physical disabilities
- Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities that would allow them to work
Understanding disability discrimination and your right to work
In order to be protected under the Act, you must satisfy your employer’s requirements for the job, such as possessing the right experience and education, and be able to perform the essential duties of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. Accommodations by an employer may include making existing facilities readily accessible to employees with disabilities, restructuring the job, or acquiring or modifying equipment.
To remain compliant, a company may be required, for instance, to provide a low vision aid so an employee with a vision impairment can read a computer screen. However, a worker with a disability that renders him unable to lift boxes but wants to work in a warehouse would not be covered under the Act as lifting heavy objects is an essential function of the position.
A disability does not affect your ability to make a difference in the workplace. However, if you have been harassed on the job, denied a job, or denied reasonable accommodations to meet your needs, Barrett & Farahany will fight for your right to work under the Act. With extensive experience in disability discrimination and a renowned history of winning cases for clients, we’re dedicated to protecting your career and ensuring you receive the remedies to which you’re entitled.