Physical Disability Discrimination
State and federal employment laws provide workers with a number of protections, one of which is the right to a safe work environment that is free of harassment and discrimination. Despite these laws, workplace discrimination occurs at a surprisingly high rate. Many cases of workplace discrimination involve physical disability discrimination.
Disability discrimination applies to any situation in which an employee is treated differently because of a physical, mental, or perceived disability. The disability discrimination attorneys at Chanfrau & Chanfrau, who serve Daytona Beach, FL, Palm Coast, FL, and surrounding areas, help employees understand their rights regarding physical disabiltiy discrimination so that they can hold liable employers accountable if those rights are violated.
There are two federal laws that apply directly to situations involving physical disability discrimination in the workplace. The first is The Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This law provides protections to individuals with disabilities who are employed by (or applying for employment with) federal agencies or any program that receives federal money. The more recent law is the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. This law applies to individuals with disabilities who are employed by (or applying for employment with) private employers, state or local governments, employment agencies, or labor unions.
Both The Rehabilitation Act and the ADA make it illegal to discriminate against an employee or treat them differently on the grounds of a disability. Physical disability discrimination is illegal in all aspects of employment, including:
- Compensation or pay rates
- Advancement decisions (i.e. promotions)
- Job training
- Any other term, condition, or benefit of employment
Employees are often unaware if they are protected by federal laws pertaining to disability. Disability protections do not just apply to individuals who were born with a physical disability, but also to those who experience short- or long-term disability. Under the legal definition, many medical conditions are covered by The Rehabilitation Act and ADA. Protections apply to any individual with a disability (physical, mental, or perceived) that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Protections also apply to individuals with a history of disability, such as those who are in remission from cancer.
Right to Reasonable Accommodations
In addition to anti-discrimination protections, it is important that workers with disabilities are aware of their right to reasonable accommodations. Job applicants or employees with disabilities can request that employers (or potential employers) provide them with reasonable accommodations that allow them to apply for a job position, perform job duties, or enjoy the benefits of employment. Unless the accommodation places undue hardship on the employer, accommodations must be provided.
Examples of reasonable accommodations in the workplace include:
- Modified work schedule
- Modified products, equipment, or software
- Improved accessibility to the workplace
- Altered testing or training material
- Providing qualified readers or interpreters
Contact Our Practice
If you are a worker with a physical disability, it is important that you understand the full scope of rights provided under employment laws. If you believe that your rights have been violated, the disability discrimination lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau can help you consider your legal options. To schedule a personal consultation with our legal team, contact our practice online or call (386) 258-7313 at your earliest convenience.