What to Do About Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

Being mistreated in the workplace because of your disability is never okay. Such conduct can create and foster an unsafe, uncomfortable, and hostile environment. Additionally, it can cause physical and emotional harm, making it difficult for you to do your job or even enjoy your life outside of work.

On top of that, discrimination, harassment, and other harmful treatment based on your disability is illegal. As an employee, you do have rights. It is important to understand them and exercise them to address and stop negative behavior occurring at your job. We know that discussing your situation can be painful and challenging. Still, we encourage you to reach out to our team at Nisar Law Group, P.C. Our New York lawyers stand up for employees subject to intolerable conduct and are dedicated to seeking justice and holding wrongdoers accountable.

We hope the information in this blog empowers you to take a stand, and we are here to offer additional advice and guidance when you need us.

For legal help in New York, contact us at (646) 760-6493.

What Is Disability Discrimination?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a disability is defined as having an actual physical or mental impairment limiting one or more major life activities, a record of impairment, or being regarded as having a disability.

Disability discrimination occurs when a supervisor, coworker, or any third party associated with an employer subjects a person to negative treatment because of their impairment. Negative treatment can include harassment or discriminatory acts.

Types of disability discrimination that occurs in the workplace include:

  • Direct discrimination: This is where an employer, its workers, or a third party outwardly subjects a worker to unfavorable treatment because of their disability.
  • Indirect discrimination: This occurs when an employer establishes practices or policies applying to all employees but negatively affects workers with disabilities.
  • Failure to make reasonable adjustments: Employers must ensure that disabled employees can access the same education, training, and services as other workers. Failing to change workplace policies or working environments is a form of discrimination.
  • Harassment: This involves conduct such as taunting or antagonizing an employee because of their disability. It can include verbal or written harassment and creates an intimidating, degrading, hostile, or offensive environment.

Regardless of the form it takes, any kind of discrimination against a disabled worker is deplorable and illegal.

What Is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

Title I of the ADA is a federal law providing protections for employees and applicants with disabilities. It applies to employers with 15 or more employees. It states that a worker with an impairment has the same rights as all other employees, and they should have access to the same employment-related benefits as others. Additionally, the ADA prohibits any employer from making adverse employment decisions based on the employee's disability.

Forbidden practices include discrimination in:

  • Recruitment
  • Hiring
  • Promoting
  • Training
  • Compensation
  • Social activities
  • Other employment benefits

Employers are also prohibited from asking applicants about their disability during the interview process. They must also make reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities unless doing such would create an undue hardship. Reasonable accommodations include creating an environment allowing employees to perform their job functions.

How Do You File a Complaint?

Because disability discrimination is wrong, harmful, and illegal, it should not continue. If you or a coworker is subject to such treatment, it is important to come forward. One of the first things you can do is notify your employer of the situation. They might have policies and procedures in place to address the behavior.

However, if your employer is unable to provide an immediate and appropriate solution to the problem, you can file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Do not delay in taking action. In most cases, you have only 180 days to submit your complaint. Missing the deadline can prevent you from seeking justice.

If you receive a "right-to-sue" letter from the EEOC, you can take your case to federal court.

Whatever path you take, seek counsel from an employment law lawyer. They can review your situation and evaluate your case. They can also help you understand your rights, legal options, and ability to pursue remedy.

We understand that speaking up can be intimidating and navigating the process for pursuing justice can be overwhelming. Nisar Law Group, P.C. is here to help. We'll handle the details of your New York case, relieving some of the stresses you are facing and building a solid strategy on your behalf.

We are ready to listen to you. Schedule a consultation by calling us at (646) 760-6493 or submitting an online contact form today.