There are many disabled individuals who are able to work with their disabilities and who are interested in taking jobs across a wide range of fields. Unfortunately, there are circumstances in which employers discriminate against people because of their disability, even when those individuals are fully qualified to be skilled workers and to do a great job at a particular position. When an employer discriminates against someone with a disability, legal action can be taken.
There are state and federal laws which protect disabled workers and which guarantee employment opportunities. If you have a disability and you believe you were denied any type of employment opportunities because of it, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney to find out what your best course of action is.
The federal law which provides protection to disabled workers is called the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA mandates employers may not discriminate against disabled workers in any of the terms and conditions of employment. Employers cannot fire someone for his or her disability status, and employers are not permitted to refuse to hire someone who is otherwise qualified just because that job candidate has a disabling condition.
Not only are employers not permitted to discriminate against disabled workers, but they are also required to make reasonable accommodations that may be necessary for a disabled person to do a job that the disabled person is otherwise able to do. For example, if a disabled person wanted to work as a store clerk behind a register but could not stand on their feet all day due to his or her disabling condition, the employer could be required to provide a stool for the person. Whether or not an accommodation is considered reasonable is going to depend upon whether it places an undue burden on an employer or not.
Employers are also not permitted to establish job requirements or job testing which would have a disparate impact on disabled individuals. This means if a test or pre-employment requirement had the effect of disqualifying more people who are disabled, it would be considered unlawful discrimination unless there was a bona fide reason why the employer needed to have the regulation in place based on the nature or conditions of the job. Finally, employers cannot allow co-workers to create a hostile work environment for disabled individuals on the basis of their condition.
A violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act on the part of the employer can result in action by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and could result in a civil claim brought by the disabled worker to seek compensation for loss of wages, emotional distress, and other damage resulting from the discrimination. Disabled individuals should consult with an employment law attorney to determine if they have been the victim of unlawful and illegal discriminatory behavior.