Are you a victim of disability discrimination at work? Is your employer mistreating you or allowing others to create a hostile work environment for you with no repercussions? When an employer does not provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, they are violating federal employment law. Although infractions might seem minor to an employer, the affect they have on someone’s work environment can be devastating both physically and emotionally.
Do You Qualify? – 866-262-1553
If your rights are being violated, call a disability discrimination lawyer at Baron & Budd. We will fight aggressively to defend your employment rights and prove ADA Violations to hold them accountable.We have offices in California, Texas, and Louisiana and serve people across the United States. Call now or email us to request an appointment.
About ADA Violations & Discrimination Against People with Disabilities
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code, individuals with physical and mental disabilities are afforded a number of employment-related protections.
However, ADA violations can be subtle, and knowing one’s rights is crucial when it comes to protecting them. The ADA provides protection from discrimination for people with disabilities that do not affect their ability to perform the important parts of their job.
For example, if two employees have the same skill level but an employer pays the disabled person less and does not offer the same bonuses or opportunities for growth, that is disability discrimination. If they create a hostile work environment by constantly making “jokes” about special accommodations, or allow workers to chastise or exclude them from projects and rewards that is also considered discrimination. If one in 10 graphic designers at a company are dyslexic, and their supervisor gives a performance review for bonus pay that requires careful reading and written responses without offering reasonable accommodations or assistance, that is disability discrimination.
A person with disabilities cannot be discriminated against because they need minor accommodations to perform a marginal or unimportant part of their job. If they are, they can file a lawsuit for disability discrimination compensation.
Who is covered by the ADA?
The ADA is written to protect a broad scope of people with disabilities from all employers on the basis of disability in any employment practices — including hiring, firing, promotion, demotion, and salary negotiations. Meanwhile, Texas’s law applies only to employers or 15 or more employees (or any state or local government employers).
Disabilities aren’t limited to obvious physical ones, like people with limited mobility, amputees, or paraplegics; cognitive impairment, learning disabilities, genetic disorders, and mental illnesses can all be qualified as disabilities if they restrict an important life ability but do not restrict your ability to perform the main job duties of your position.
What is a Qualified Disability Eligible for Protection According to the ADA?
Qualified disabilities that are protected by the ADA include but are not limited to:
- Physical Handicap
- Thyroid Disorders: Overactive & Underactive Thyroid
- Anxiety Disorders
- Down’s Syndrome
- Heart Disease
- Deafness or Hearing Impairment
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Pregnancy Complications
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Mental Illness
- Limb Loss/Amputation
- AIDS/HIV Positive
ADA protection includes anti-discrimination rights for people with all disabilities including any
“physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of your major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment. Persons discriminated against because they have a known association or relationship with an individual with a disability also are protected. “
This can include mental illnesses and issues like depression, anxiety disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, these issues have to be relatively severe to be considered disabling under the ADA or Texas Labor Code. Those who are protected under the ADA must be qualified to perform the “essential functions” of their job, either with reasonable accommodation or without any accommodations.
What is not a protected disability under the ADA?
Illegal drug use, even if taken to help one perform the essential duties of their job, is not a protected disability that falls within the ADA umbrella of protection. Despite the adoption of legal medical marijuana in many parts of the country, the use of this substance for medicinal purposes is not recognized by the ADA.
Employees who are using illegal drugs or alcohol at work that affects their ability to perform their job, even if attempting to self-medicate a genuine disability, will not be protected under the ADA.
The ADA also does not protect people with certain disabilities if they are not severe enough to impair their normal life events. Examples include mild ADHD, mild OCD, mild depression, minor illnesses, and minor or temporary medical conditions like a broken foot.
What does the ADA require employers to provide for people with disabilities?
Employers are required to make “reasonable accommodations” to employees who claim disability under the ADA. This can mean making physical changes to the workplace (like adding a wheelchair ramp) or allowing an employee to have a more flexible work schedule or work from home. Employees who are deaf or hard of hearing or who don’t read English fluently may be provided a reader or interpreter, although the employer won’t be required to lower its production or service standards as part of a reasonable accommodation. Therefore if a job requires an individual to speak fluent English, a non-English-speaking applicant may rightfully be denied.
There are some exceptions to this requirement, notably undue hardship. This allows an employer to avoid making an otherwise reasonable accommodation if doing so would create an “undue hardship” on the employer’s ability to run its business. The definition of undue hardship can differ from federal district to district (and state to state), but is generally a fairly steep hurdle involving a major expense or a difficult undertaking that would have a disproportionate impact.
What does the ADA Prohibit Employers from Doing?
Besides outlawing unfair treatment against people with disabilities, and making restrictive or exclusionary decisions on the basis of an applicant or employee’s disability, employers are prohibited from openly discussing or privately inquiring about an employee’s real or perceived disability. One example of disability discrimination is passing someone over for a promotion because he or she had pursued a work-from-home arrangement while recovering from surgery.
During a job interview, an employer may legally ask questions regarding your ability to do your job. Examples of legal questions they can ask include:
→”Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job?”
→”Are you able to do X, Y, and Z?”
However, potential employers cannot directly ask about a disability without violating anti-discrimination laws in the ADA. Employees may not be required to undergo a medical exam (other than a drug test) that is not required of other employees as a condition of employment.
Employers must also refrain from harassing an employee on the basis of disability or sanctioning harassment by refusing to take action when brought to its attention
How Can You Win an ADA Disability Claim Lawsuit?
Unlike other discrimination claims that are often difficult to prove, a discriminatory act against an employee with disabilities often involves the open denial or refusal of a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability. This means the heaviest burden of proof on the plaintiff is documentation of the disability and the reasonableness (and effectiveness) of the proposed accommodations.
What types of compensation can you recover?
In most cases, ADA claims can resolve in injunctive relief (requiring your employer to take certain actions or make accommodations). In certain situations, particularly those involving harassment or retaliation on the basis of disability, punitive damages can also be assessed.
Contact a Disability Discrimination Lawyer
Do You Qualify? – 866-262-1553
If you have experienced discrimination at work because of mental or physical disabilities, contact the employment discrimination section of Baron & Budd today. We will schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential case, and determine whether you are eligible to file an ADA claim for workplace discrimination because of your disability. We have offices in California, Texas, and Louisiana and serve people across the United States. Call now or email us to request an appointment.