People with disability enjoy protection from discrimination at work under the Americans with Disability Act. This federal law applies to companies who employ fifteen or more people for a minimum period of at least 20 weeks.
Under its provisions, employers cannot discriminate against qualified persons with disability in:
- Application process
- Pay and benefits
- Discharge and termination
- Other conditions of employment
People with disability are also entitled to the following rights:
Medical examinations and inquiries
Employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. Applicants may only be asked about their ability to perform specific job functions.
A job offer may be conditioned based on the results of a medical examination, but only if the examination is required for all entering employees in similar jobs. Medical examinations of employees must be job related and consistent with the employer’s business needs.
Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Employees and applicants currently into the illegal use of drugs are not covered by the ADA when an employer acts because of such use.
Employers may hold illegal drug users and alcoholics to the same performance standards as other employees.
It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on disability or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or giving statements in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under the ADA.
Legal Definition of Disability
Disability as defined by ADA applies to persons who are thought to have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activity including walking, talking, seeing, and learning.
A person with disability enjoys certain reasonable work accommodations which every employer should imposed and comply with. Some of these accommodations are:
- Restructuring of work to allow a disable worker to perform his job
- Giving the employee additional medical leave
- Assigning the employee to a vacant or light-duty position
- Installing special equipment to help disabled employee
- Changing or modifying work schedule to accommodate the employee
- Providing the employee with an interpreter or a qualified reader
- Making existing facilities readily accessible or usable by disabled persons
To encourage the practice of helping people with disability, the government offers federal tax discount or tax incentives to both employer and the disabled employee. This step is also done to promote the accessibility of public accommodations.
Legal Remedy Against Disability Discrimination
If you believe you have been discriminated about because of your disability, you can have your lawyer file a discrimination suit against the offending party at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
As a legal requirement, the discrimination charge must be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. You have only 300 days within which you can the charge based on state or local law.
To help you pursue your case against an individual or an employer, it necessary to hire the services of an employment lawyer who specializes in disability discrimination cases. His skills and experience can help you win your case against disability discrimination at the work place.