Employment Law Questions
Federal, state and local laws all prohibit discrimination in the workplace. But what exactly does that mean? That could mean you were harassed at work by your boss, co-worker or even a customer. It could also mean you were treated unfairly when it came to hiring, promotions, compensation, lay-offs, wrongful termination or forced retirement. Click through the slideshow below to read some of the most common questions asked by employees in your situation. If you would like any additional information, please schedule a meeting or call us at 412-620-8735.
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What are some examples of employment disability discrimination?
First, let's define disability discrimination: Under Americans with Disabilities Act (federal law), the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, West Virginia Human Rights Act and Ohio Civil Rights Act, employers are not permitted to discriminate based on a person’s disability, perceived disability or relationship to a person with a disability in hiring, firing, promotion, layoffs, job assignments or other employment benefits. Under the ADA a “disability” is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. So what does disability discrimination look like?
An example of employment discrimination could be an employer who fails to hire you because you had cancer in the past and he or she unreasonably thinks you might have cancer again. Another example could be an employer who terminates an employee’s employment after he or she receives a diagnosis, a substantially limiting impairment, even though the employee can still perform the essential functions of his or her job.
If you are a person with a disability, you might wonder if you may ask for a reasonable accommodation from your work. The answer is "yes." An employer who fails to provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a disability is discriminating against that employee. A reasonable accommodation according to the EEOC is "any change in the work environment (or in the way things are usually done) to help a person with a disability apply for a job, perform the duties of a job, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment." It is important to note that "reasonable" means that an employer does not have to provide an accommodation if doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer. An employer can show that a requested accommodation would cause undue hardship if the accommodation would be too difficult or expensive to provide. Also, an employer does not have to provide the exact requested accommodation. It is a process.
A Note on Disability Discrimination and COVID-19: The EEOC has stated that allowing a person with a disability to telework from home is considered a reasonable accommodation. Check out the EEOC's pandemic Fact Sheet.
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