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How do workers with cognitive disabilities experience discrimination?

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2023 | workplace discrimination |

For many people with cognitive disabilities, everything about daily life can have unique challenges. This includes having a job.

In the same way that laws exist to protect workers with physical disabilities from discrimination, workers with cognitive disabilities also have similar protections.

Lack of accommodations

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission discusses amendments that allow for the protection of individuals with intellectual disabilities in the workplace. Thus, discrimination against those with said disabilities often involves the refusal to comply with these requirements or protections.

A lack of accommodations serves as the first red flag. Reasonable requests for accommodations must get met by the employer. They can refuse if the financial investment seems too steep, but this is rarely the case for those with cognitive disabilities.

Denying necessary leave time

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not specifically mandate that employers need to comply with all leave requests. However, again, they need to make necessary accommodations. This may include leave if it falls within the definition of necessary.

Questioning an employee’s disability

Employers may ask qualifying questions that will potentially allow them to assess a candidate’s abilities in terms of reading, writing and other skills. However, they cannot question the actual disabilities or attempt to refute that an employee has a disability.

Unlawfully disclosing medical information

Finally, employers cannot give private medical information to anyone else. This includes co-workers or shift leads. They may, however, provide staff meetings, required courses or handouts that teach other staff members how to respectfully and properly interact with a person who has a disability.

Together, this can improve the life of a worker with a cognitive disability.