How to Handle Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

August 31, 2022

The Americans the Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants with disabilities. When violations of the ADA occur, victims may be able to take legal action. In Florida, the Tampa employment attorneys at Florin Gray Bouzas Owens can help victims understand their rights and respond to such atrocities. Read on for more information.

Which Employees are Covered?

The ADA protects employees and applicants who are disabled, as well as those who are regarded as or perceived as being disabled.

  • An employee or applicant with a disability has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
  • An employee or applicant who has a documented history of impairment. For example, if an employee is in remission from cancer or some other health issue, an employer cannot discriminate against the employee based on the history of this disability.
  • An employee is regarded by the employer as being disabled. Even if the employer is wrong and the employee is not actually disabled, if the employer discriminates against the employee based on the false belief they have a disability, that employer is violating the employee’s rights under the ADA.

It is important to note that only “qualified individuals” with disabilities are protected by the ADA. A qualified individual with a disability is an individual who is capable of performing the essential duties of the job with or without reasonable accommodation by the employer.

If the qualified individual with a disability needs a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential functions of the job, the employer must provide the accommodation unless the accommodation would present an undue hardship to the employer. Since the employer must engage in an interactive process to determine if it can provide the accommodation, it is important to have medical documents supporting the need for an accommodation. It is also important to keep in mind that an employer cannot retaliate against an employee for requesting a reasonable accommodation.

How is “Disability” Defined?

A disability under the terms of the ADA is any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. There exists a broad range of life activities identified by the ADA that can be limited due to a disability, including walking, reading, communicating, concentrating, and breathing. Additionally, bodily functions such as digestive functioning, bowel and bladder functioning, neurological functioning, and respiratory functioning are recognized, among others.

A core component of protection under the ADA is that the employee’s life activity must be “substantially” limited. In other words, minimally inconvenient ailments and some temporary conditions may not be covered. Consultation with an experienced local employment attorney is always advised when attempting to determine if an individual condition or situation qualifies an employee for protection under the ADA.

How to Handle Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

If you believe your rights under the ADA were being violated by your employer, consulting with an experienced employment attorney who can review your case and guide you through the legal process is essential.

For years, the attorneys at Florin Gray Bouzas Owens have been helping employees throughout the United States with this process. Contact a Tampa employment lawyer at Florin Gray Bouzas Owens today for expert insight into your unique case.

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