Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

Are you being treated negatively at work after disclosing that you have a disability? Have you been terminated after telling your employer that you have a disability? Do you have a medical condition that required you to take time off from work for medical treatment, and upon your return you notice that your employer perceives you as a disabled worker and has been treating you negatively as a result?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you may have been discriminated against because of your disability or because of your employer’s perception that you may have a disability and it may be in your best interest to contact a Houston employment lawyer. Do not suffer in silence! There are federal and state laws that are in place to protect you from this type of disability discrimination. You may be able to claim compensation for lost income, lost benefits, emotional suffering, and other losses. Leeds Law Firm has knowledgeable disability discrimination attorneys to advise you of your rights and help you through the process.

What is a Disability?

An individual with a disability under the American with Disabilities Act (or ADA) is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment, or is perceived to have an impairment that limits one or more major life activity.

Under disability discrimination laws, major life activities can include caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. The operation of major bodily functions such as functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions are also major life activities.

It is also important to note that even if an employee suffers from an impairment that is episodic or in remission it can still be a disability if it substantially limits a major life activity when active.

What Actions Taken by an Employer are Subject to Disability Discrimination Laws

The ADA is the federal disability discrimination law that makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees with a disability in all employment practices such as:

  • recruitment
  • pay
  • hiring
  • firing
  • promotion
  • job assignments
  • training
  • leave
  • lay-off
  • benefits
  • all other employment related activities.

The ADA (and Texas state law) also prohibits an employer from retaliating against an applicant or employee for asserting his/her rights with regards to disability discrimination.

The ADA also makes it unlawful to discriminate against an applicant or employee, whether disabled or not, because of the individual's family, business, social or other relationship or association with an individual with a disability.

If you feel that you were subjected to discrimination during any of the above listed employment activities because of your disability, it is important you speak with an experienced disability discrimination attorney as soon as possible to determine your rights and what legal actions can be taken on your behalf. The sooner you learn what protections you have under the law, the better position you are in to protect your job and future career. You can contact us at Leeds Law Firm at anytime to speak to a Houston employment lawyer.

Failure to Reasonably Accommodate

If an employer suffers from a disability, but can perform all the essential functions of his/her job with a reasonable accommodation, federal and state law require the employer to engage in an interactive process to identify and provide that reasonable accommodation (so long as it does not put an undue burden on the employer’s business). A Houston employment lawyer can help you assess if your employer as unlawfully failed to accommodate your disability. Therefore, it could be in your best interest to speak with a knowledgeable disability discrimination attorney to understand your rights.

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

Reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities.

Some examples of reasonable accommodations are:

  • acquiring or modifying equipment or devices,
  • job restructuring,
  • part-time or modified work schedules,
  • reassignment to a vacant position,
  • adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials or policies,
  • providing readers and interpreters, and
  • making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.

It is a violation of the ADA (and Texas state law) to fail to provide reasonable accommodation to the known physical or mental limitations of a qualified individual with a disability, unless to do so would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business. Undue hardship means that the accommodation would require significant difficulty or expense.

If you have requested a reasonable accommodation and your employer has ignored your requests, has unreasonably delayed providing a reasonable accommodation, has treated you negatively because you requested a reasonable an accommodation, or has terminated your employment instead of providing your requested reasonable accommodation, your legal rights are being violated. An attorney can help you assess your situation, demand the accommodation to which you are legally entitled and make sure the accommodation provided suits your needs.

Not surprisingly, many employers are quicker to respond when a lawyer is involved. Additionally, if the employer continues to ignore or delay requests for reasonable accommodation or terminates your employment instead of providing the reasonable accommodation requested, a lawyer can help you file a charge of discrimination to protect your right to file a disability discrimination lawsuit (which may become necessary if your employer continues to violate the law).

If you have faced disability discrimination in the workplace or wrongful termination based on your disability, or an employer has failed to provide a reasonable accommodation you needed because of your disability, you must take action to protect your job and get whatever assistance you need (and are legally entitled to). If you are in the Houston area and are in need of a skilled disability discrimination attorney, contact Leeds Law Firm to help you assess the situation, determine your rights, and advocate for you to make sure those rights are asserted and that you are protected!

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