Riverside Disability Discrimination Lawyer
Workplace disability discrimination is a significant issue, but people with disabilities are protected by the law. If you have a disability, you are entitled to the same treatment and opportunities as your able-bodied co-workers, and you can take legal action if you think you’ve been discriminated against.
What Is Disability Discrimination in the Workplace?
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was passed in 1990 to protect people with disabilities from discrimination. The ADA defines disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Major life activities include walking, talking, learning, seeing, and other essential components of day-to-day life.
Disability discrimination can happen in the workplace in many ways. For example, employers may discriminate based on disability during recruitment, hiring, firing, offering promotions, or providing benefits. Requiring applicants or current employees to answer questions about their past or present health conditions is also considered discrimination.
One of the most common examples of disability discrimination in the workplace is creating a work environment with barriers to the movement of workers with physical disabilities. Disability discrimination can also be refusing to provide reasonable accommodations for workers with mental or physical disabilities.
Examples of Workplace Disability Discrimination
Workplace disability discrimination takes on many forms, and it can be difficult to tell whether or not you were discriminated against. Here are some examples of real-world disability discrimination cases:
In 2011, Pepsi settled a disability discrimination suit after the company terminated a disabled driver for violating the attendance policy. The driver had followed the company’s procedure to tell his supervisor that his disability prevented him from finishing his route and that he would take medical leave. Therefore, he was wrongfully terminated, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a disability discrimination lawsuit with Pepsi.
A similar case happened with a vacuum hardware company in Minnesota when an employee was absent from work for a week due to hospitalization. Although the company was aware that the employee was hospitalized, they fired him for failing to call in every day. The EEOC determined that the company fired the employee due to disability, which is an ADA violation.
The EEOC also sued Walmart for disability discrimination after a store manager barred an employee from parking in a handicapped parking space. Management was aware of the employee’s health condition, which caused shortness of breath and difficulty walking long distances. However, the manager still forced the employee to park in the back of the lot even after the employee showed his handicap placard.
Akeena Solar, a California solar power company, settled a disability discrimination lawsuit after firing a technician with a paralyzed arm. The technician’s employer found out about her paralyzed arm the day after hiring her and promptly fired her, but an EEOC investigation found that the technician was fully qualified to perform her job duties despite her disability.
Who Is Protected?
The ADA prohibits disability discrimination in the workplace, and anyone who meets their definition of “disabled” is protected. Some of the most common disabilities covered under the ADA include blindness, deafness, wheelchair confinement, learning disabilities, and some mental illnesses. The ADA doesn’t specifically list every disability that they cover.
Title I of the ADA prohibits companies with 15 or more employees from discriminating based on disability in hiring, training, promotions, and other employment privileges. Title I also prohibits employers from asking their workers about their disabilities, and it requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.
If you have a disability and your workplace employs 15 or more people, you are protected under Title I of the ADA. You are also protected under the ADA if your employer believes that you have a disability and discriminates against you even if you are not actually disabled.
Disability Discrimination Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that about 6.3 million people with disabilities participate in the civilian labor force. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles close to 30,000 disability discrimination claims each year.
According to research from Cornell University, the following are the most common disabilities cited by people who have filed employment discrimination charges under the ADA:
- Structural back impairment
- Non-paralytic orthopedic impairment
- Anxiety disorder
- Heart conditions
- Neurological conditions
Do I Need to Hire a Disability Discrimination Lawyer?
If you believe you were discriminated against at work because of a disability, you should contact a Riverside disability discrimination attorney. Disability law is complicated, and a disability discrimination lawyer can help you understand your rights and determine whether or not you should take legal action.
The first step in formally challenging disability discrimination is filing a complaint with the EEOC. Your lawyer will help you file this complaint within the deadline. If possible, your lawyer and your employer’s lawyer may choose mediation instead of filing a lawsuit. However, if they are unable to settle, your attorney can help you file a suit.
A Riverside disability discrimination attorney can also help you request accommodations from your employer, which is known as the interactive process. Your employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations, but getting advice from an attorney can help the process go as smoothly as possible.
If you live in Riverside, California and have experienced workplace disability discrimination, contact Rizio Liberty Lipinsky today for a free consultation. Rizio Liberty Lipinsky is one of the top Riverside law firms specializing in employment law. Our experienced attorneys can help you determine your best course of action to get the compensation you deserve.
- This article should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute legal advice, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship with anyone. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney in your community.
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Disability Discrimination Lawyer
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