The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that took effect in 1990. It protects disabled workers from employment discrimination, but when an employer fails to comply, a disabled worker may need the advice and services of a Fresno employment rights attorney.
The Americans With Disabilities Act deals with disability discrimination in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, and telecommunications.
The employment section – “Title One” of the ADA – covers the hiring process, training, advancement, compensation, benefits, and most other facets of employment. The Americans With Disabilities Act applies to all employers in the U.S. who have fifteen or more workers.
What Conditions Are Considered Disabilities Under The ADA?
ADA disabilities include both physical and psychological disabilities. However, a disabling condition does not need to be a severe or permanent condition to be considered a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides an extensive list of the conditions that constitute disabilities.
If you are disabled and an employer treats you differently because of your disability, it is a violation of the law. The ADA forbids all governmental and private employers, labor unions, and employment agencies from discriminating against qualified people who have disabilities.
What Constitutes Disability Discrimination Under The ADA?
While the ADA has been the law for thirty years, some employers still discriminate against the disabled. In fact, the EEOC receives scores of discrimination claims from employees every year.
Precisely what constitutes disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act? Disability discrimination can take on many forms. Some examples include:
• A failure or refusal to hire a qualified job candidate because that person is disabled
• A failure or refusal to accommodate a disabled worker’s special needs
• A failure or refusal to grant leave that an employee has earned under the Family and Medical Leave Act
These are some of the many ways that disabled workers can be illegally discriminated against in the workplace.
What Are The ADA Rules Regarding “Reasonable” Accommodations?
The ADA sets forth a disabled employee’s right to a “reasonable” accommodation. Some examples of reasonable accommodations include but are not limited to:
- offering a disabled employee a flexible work schedule
- modifying or buying new equipment
- offering a disabled employee the option to work from home
- revising training guides, examinations, or employment policies
- e-arranging work facilities to increase accessibility for disabled employees
Employers must make reasonable accommodations unless doing so would create an undue hardship. To put it simply, this means they are required to make accommodations unless doing so would be egregiously costly or difficult or would result in lower production standards or a lower quality of work.
Who Pays For Reasonable Accommodations?
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, disabled employees cannot be asked to pay, and cannot have their earnings reduced, in return for a reasonable accommodation.
The ADA requires the employer to provide the accommodation, and an employer cannot recover the cost of providing a reasonable accommodation by reducing your earnings or by paying you less than other workers in comparable positions.
What Else Does The ADA Require?
While employees and employment candidates may be questioned under the ADA about their ability to perform a job, they may not be asked directly about a disability. Any required medical examination must be mandatory for all of the employer’s employees who work similar jobs.
The mere use of illegal drugs alone does not constitute a disability under the ADA, which allows employers to require drug tests. Alcoholics and addicts who have been deemed disabled, while covered by the ADA, can be held to the same job performance standards as their colleagues.
What Is Needed Before You Can Sue An Employer For Disability Discrimination?
If you believe that you have grounds to file a discrimination claim under the ADA, you must obtain a “right to sue” authorization from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
Have a California employment rights lawyer help you obtain the right to sue authorization. There are strict deadlines, so you will need to contact an attorney at once if you believe that an employer has discriminated against you because of your disability.
What Else Should You Know If You Sue For Disability Discrimination?
If you sue an employer for disability discrimination, you will also need to take the steps listed below. Have an employment rights lawyer guide you through the process. Any misunderstanding or mistake on your part could be used against you or even bring your legal efforts to a halt:
- Try to get everything in writing. If you file a disability discrimination claim, and the case goes to trial, you and your lawyer will need documentation that proves you are a disability discrimination victim.
- Get the testimony or statements of witnesses. If you are a disability discrimination victim, find coworkers who may be willing to testify or make a statement on your behalf.
- Don’t be in a hurry to go to court. Taking a disability discrimination case to trial is a last resort. Let your lawyer handle the details, help you acquire a right to sue authorization, and conduct out-of-court negotiations with the employer before going to trial.
A good employment rights lawyer will have plenty of experience dealing with disability discrimination. An out-of-court settlement saves everyone considerable time and resources, but if an employer will not offer a reasonable settlement, your lawyer may recommend going to trial.
How Will An Employment Rights Attorney Help You?
Now or in the future, if you are discriminated against by an employer because you are a disabled person, take the first step toward justice and contact an experienced California employment rights lawyer.
If you have suffered disability discrimination, and if you and your attorney can prove it, the law will be on your side, and you may be able to receive reinstatement, back pay, or other damages. Disability discrimination by employers simply isn’t tolerated in the state of California.
The facts presented here are meant to provide a general introduction to your employment rights under the ADA, but your own situation is unique, so you’ll need personalized legal advice. Let a Fresno employment rights attorney advise you and take effective legal action on your behalf.