The laws, discrimination and employees with disabilities

On Behalf of | Sep 10, 2020 | Firm News |

Residents of Pennsylvania may be interested in learning more about discrimination towards people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed by Congress in 1990. Since its terms are not quite clear, employers may question whether their employee is disabled. Terms such as disability, hardship and reasonable accommodations must be clarified. If you have a disability or own a business, here are some things you may need to know.

Six ways that employers discriminate against employees with disabilities

ADA rules apply to businesses that employ 15 or more people and have been in existence for more than 20 weeks. The six areas in which you may experience discrimination include:

  • Applications
  • Hiring
  • Training
  • Promotion
  • Salary and benefits
  • Termination and discharge

Discrimination may also occur in other conditions of employment. Setting standards that make it hard to compete with co-workers is also a form of discrimination.

What is a disability?

The ADA considers a mental or physical impairment something that substantially limits a “major life activity.” This type of activity is part of everyday life, including walking, talking, seeing and learning. Certain types of mental illness, as well as confinement to a wheelchair, blindness, deafness or a learning disability, are considered disabilities.

Reasonable accommodations and undue hardship

An employer who fails to provide reasonable accommodations, such as a desk at the right level for a wheelchair or a phone meant for the hearing-impaired, is not adhering to ADA requirements. Undue hardship, such as the financial costs or difficulty with implementing certain accommodations, can be a reason that a company has a problem implementing the ADA law.

If you feel that you have experienced discrimination at work, an attorney versed in employment law may be an ally to consult. You have the right to work without being discriminated against or harassed regardless of your disability. There are many other ways that an employer might discriminate against an employee. Seek legal help to be sure of your rights.