Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

How disabled workers are protected from discrimination by the ADA

Workers in New York who are disabled are protected from mistreatment on the part of their employers or prospective employers by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Those who believe they have suffered any form of discrimination because of their disabilities have the right to move forward with employment litigation pursuant to the ADA. The details of the law are important to remember before considering a case. If an employer or other entity that falls under the auspices of the law is found to have treated an employee or a potential employee with less favor because there is a disability, illness, mental or physical impairment that is expected to last for less than six months, it is a violation of the ADA.

According to the law, the employer is also required to accommodate the employee or potential employee in a reasonable manner. The ADA comes into play even if the employee doesn't have a disability, but has a relationship with a person with a disability, such as a spouse or child. The law states that it is forbidden to discriminate in any situation related to the job. This includes deciding to hire, fire, compensate, issue assignments, promote, train, offer benefits and any other issue that arises over the course of an employee-employer relationship.

An employee cannot be harassed or discriminated against because of a disability. This can include untoward comments being made about the disability. The law cannot do anything about innocuous joking, but if there is a consistent pattern of such behavior in the workplace, it becomes offensive and negatively influences one's ability to work, there may be a claim based on the ADA. The person doing the harassment can be anyone with whom the disabled person works. The employer is also required to provide reasonable accommodations for the worker, such as wheelchair access, or to assist with the needs of those who are blind or have a hearing problem.

There are many aspects to the ADA and how employment law can be violated by a wrongful discharge or overall mistreatment by the employer. Those who believe they have been discriminated against because of their disabilities need to understand that they have rights. An experienced legal representative can help with moving forward with employment litigation based on ADA violations.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Disability Discrimination," accessed Feb. 2, 2015

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