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Disability discrimination

July 31, 2014

Many New Jersey readers may either suffer from a disability or know someone who does. Individuals who suffer from disabilities may experience various forms of discrimination in the workplace, including harassment, failure to make reasonable accommodations or wrongful termination.

It might be difficult to determine what constitutes actual disability discrimination. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, disability discrimination is when an employer or other organization that is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act treats a qualified person with a disability in an unfavorable manner because of his or her disability. This applies to both job applicants and employees.

Some examples of disability discrimination include failure to make reasonable accommodations, provide employment, provide equal pay or provide promotions. In addition, employers are prohibited from discriminating against individuals who have a history of disabilities, such as a condition that is under control or is in remission. Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against employees who have a relationship with someone who has a disability. For example, a worker who is married to someone with a disability cannot be treated in a manner that is different from the treatment of other workers.

The protections offered against disability discrimination are not universal or indefinite. Not all employers are covered by the ADA. An employer must employ at least 15 workers to be subject to the act. In addition, an employee must file a charge within 180 days, but this limit can be extended under state law.

There are many situations that may seem like gray areas when it comes to deciding whether or not true harassment is taking place. A lawyer with a background in workplace discrimination cases may review an employee’s account of incidents to determine whether they meet the criteria for workplace disability discrimination.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Disability Discrimination“, July 18, 2014

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