What is disability discrimination and when does it occur?
Disability discrimination and disability harassment happens when a person is treated unfairly because they have a disability or a perceived disability.
Persons associated with an individual with a disability are also commonly and unfortunately discriminated against.
Disability discrimination can occur anywhere. It can occur at a restaurant or movie theater. It is not limited to the workplace, however, there are many protections for employees and applicants with disabilities.
As long as an applicant or employee is qualified to do a job, their disability matter. In fact, there are many state and federal laws such as The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2010 and The Rehabilitation Act that protect applicants and employees from disability discrimination, disability harassment, and retaliation.
Employers cannot ask applicants about their disability in job interviews. These employers include private businesses, state governments, labor organizations and employment agencies. They cannot ask if an applicant is disabled or if they have any medical conditions. They are only allowed to ask if an applicant can carry out the duties of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. An employer cannot discriminate against an employee on the basis of their disability in regards to: hiring, firing, training, benefits, or promotions.
Employers must provide reasonable accommodation to their employees with disabilities. It doesn't matter if the disability is mental or physical. They have a right to request reasonable accommodations that would help them do their work.
If you've been discriminated against for your disability or association with someone disabled, you may have a case. Consult with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney to learn more about your rights.