Many of us deal with or at least witnessed disability discrimination. Most of the time, it’s for reasons no one can control. Did you know there is a law that makes this focused abuse illegal? The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer (“undue hardship”).
Checking the Facts
It is illegal to harass an applicant or employee because he has a disability, had a disability in the past, or is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor (even if he/she does not have such an impairment).
Harassment can include, for example, offensive remarks about a person’s disability. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren’t very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).
The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer. With this information, it is key to point out and combat signs of discrimination in the workplace.
No Time for Pity
I spoke with Dreamscape Foundation founder, Joseph Sehwani, about the types of discrimination he has dealt with. Being only 16 years old when dealing with his onset of Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), the founder has a unique yet familiar brush with discrimination. “When I was diagnosed with my disability the first thing I noticed was the different ways people started to treat me. It was difficult taking on the obstacle of blindness, but even more difficult to see people in my life unsure how to behave around me.”
Sehwani states that “I felt as if my peers looked down upon me or had pity for me. It’s a feeling no person with a disability should experience because although you may need assistance from time-to-time it does not rule you out in becoming an independent and successful individual.”
Employment claims and lawsuits are among the most costly and time-consuming losses facing corporations. In fact, there were 99,922 EEOC charges filed for Florida in 2010 alone, according to Enterprise Florida, the official economic development organization of the state of Florida. The following are all examples of discrimination in the workplace:
- Discrimination (based on race, sex, age, religion or other factors)
- Sexual Harassment
- Negligent Hiring, Supervision, Promotion and Retention
- Breach of Contract
- Emotional Distress & Mental Anguish
- Invasion of Privacy
Have you or a loved one been scrutinized over a disability at work? Many attorney’s such as Avard Law Offices will help you win your discrimination case. Also feel free to contact us if you are seeking personal solutions.« PreviousNext »