Person with physical, intellectual or mental challenges, under the 1990 protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), are entitled to the same opportunities and privileges as non-disabled employees.
ADA prohibits discrimination by employers because of a worker’s disabilities, as defined by U.S. Code § 12102. Under ADA, an employer is required to provide “reasonable accommodations” to a disabled worker, including adaptations to their workplace and job responsibilities.
However, though 30 percent of college-educated job applicants and employees have a disability, despite the ADA and its amendments, disabled people in the workplace are still too often discriminated against by employers who fail to meet the requirements of the law.
According to federal law U.S. Code § 12102, disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including but not limited to:
Self-care, Manual task performance, Seeing, Hearing, Breathing, Thinking, Speaking, Communicating, Learning, Reading, Concentrating, Standing, Walking, Lifting, Bending, Working
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits disability discrimination in employment, transportation, schools, public accommodations and telecommunications. The ADA guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities. And is governed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
However, while protections and accommodations for disabled people advanced enormously after the ADA was passed, there were gaps in those guaranteed protections.
Consequently, the ADA was amended in 2008 and became effective on June 1, 2009, under the name Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).
ADAAA now covers the following entities:
▪Private employers with 15 or more employees
▪State and local government
▪Agents of the employer
▪Joint management labor committees
Because of ADA and ADAAA, private and government employers must provide “reasonable accommodations” for disabled employees in commercial buildings, professional offices, government facilities, and their surrounding property. For instance, the Department of Justice 2010 regulations of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design made enforceable requirements that provide disabled employees ease of access to their workplace.
According to the ADA, reasonable accommodations include modifications or assistance within a workplace that allows a disabled employee to do the job for which they are qualified. “Qualified” is defined as an employee who has the degrees, certifications, skills, and/or experience necessary to perform the required job responsibilities.
Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Adjustable or appropriate height computer or media desks for wheelchair users, Wider hallways, doorways, and paths of egress, Handicapped parking places, Curb Ramps, Computer screen magnifiers, Telecommunication systems for deaf people,
Job restructuring including hours and work days, Exam and training material modification, Providing reasonable unpaid time off for medical appointments, Reasonable medical leaves, Reader or interpreter hiring, Temporary provision of specialists to assist in training, Job location transfers for access to better medical care.
Though equality advocates hoped that ADA, ADAAA and ADA Standards for Accessible Design would improve impaired employee and job applicants’ opportunities, these measures haven’t fully ended discrimination against disabled workers.
According to a National Organization on Disabilities study, 59 percent of working-age participants without a functional disability were employed compared to only 21 percent of equivalently qualified disabled workers. From that study, the jobless handicapped workers believed that their disability was directly connected to their unemployment.
Whether employers intend to discriminate or have unconscious biases against disabled workers, such discrimination against impaired people continues.
Also, disappointingly, after a disabled person becomes employed, they may be subjected to fewer promotions and raises, demotions, fewer benefits and bonuses, less respectful treatment, harassment (enduring offensive comments and jokes), a hostile work environment, sexual harassment and more because of their disability.
If you or a loved one are being or have been discriminated against in the workplace because of a disability, you do not have to tolerate such illegal conduct. California and federal laws protect disabled employees and job applicants.
The California civil rights law firm of V. James DeSimone has rigorously taken on large and small employers, including government agencies, that have discriminated against disabled people. Over the past 30 years, attorney DeSimone and his legal team have achieved substantialfinancial settlements for innocent people whose civil rights have been violated.
As a dedicated advocate for handicapped employees, if we determine you have a legitimate disability discrimination case, we’ll fight aggressively to defend your rights at no up-front cost to you. V. James DeSimone accepts civil rights discrimination cases only on a contingency basis, which means we only get paid when you win a just monetary settlement.
James DeSimone is a qualified Los Angeles employment and civil rights lawyer, and he and his legal team are ready to discuss and handle your employee disability discrimination case. Call 310.693.5561 today for a free consultation and case review in our Marina del Rey office. Or if you prefer, fill out our contact form online, and our legal team will respond promptly.
Attorney V. James DeSimone is a 35+ year experienced civil rights & employment lawyer in Southern California. Jim is a Super Lawyer, Rated “Superb” by Avvo, and is a US News & World Report Best Law Firm in California.
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