Call Our Disability Discrimination Lawyers in White Plains, NY
Fighting Against Disability Discrimination in the Workplace
As a U.S. citizen, you have the right to equal employment opportunities. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it’s against the law to discriminate against someone based on their physical or mental disabilities. However, disability discrimination in the workplace still occurs all too often and, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, seems to be increasing. Some employers refuse to hire disabled workers or treat them differently on the job, passing them over for promotions or laying them off despite their qualifications, skills, and relevant work experience. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against due to your disability, Filippatos PLLC can help. Our disability discrimination attorneys in White Plains, NY assist clients throughout New York City and many surrounding areas. Reach out to our team today to request a free initial consultation so we can discuss the details of your case.
Who Is Covered by Disability Discrimination Laws?
In addition to federal disability discrimination laws, New York also provides strong state protections for employees as well as independent and private contractors, subcontractors, domestic workers, vendors, and consultants under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYHRL). Individuals with various diseases, conditions, disorders, disfigurements, and impairments are covered under disability discrimination laws. For example, you would be protected if you have multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, speech impairments, blindness, deafness, or paralysis. The impairment or condition may be permanent or temporary, such as a broken leg, clinical depression, or pregnancy.
Taking Legal Action Against Disability Discrimination in the Workplace
Disability discrimination occurs when an employee or job applicant is mistreated due to their former, existing, or perceived disability – including not being reasonably accommodated so they can work with their disability. According to the law, disabilities may be physical, medical, mental, or psychological. They generally limit a person’s ability to perform ordinary “major life activities” such as walking, hearing, seeing, standing, sitting, concentrating, or even interacting with others. They also include limitations in bodily functions such as bladder, bowel, respiratory, neurological, circulatory, or endocrine issues. Disability discrimination also protects individuals recovering from substance abuse, alcoholism, or drug addiction.
Disability discrimination laws state it is illegal for employers to discriminate against individuals with disabilities when hiring, firing, promoting, disciplining, training, granting entitled medical leave, and more. Furthermore, if someone is qualified for a job, it is an employer’s responsibility to provide “reasonable workplace accommodations” unless in doing so they present an undue hardship. Examples of undue hardships include safety threats to other employees or financial difficulties for the company. Under the law, an employee seeks a reasonable workplace accommodation for a bona fide disability, the employer must engage in a “dynamic interactive process” to determine if such a reasonable accommodation of the worker’s disability is possible. In other words, the employer must problem-solve with its employees – not ignore them – when they try to continue working even though they may suffer from a disability.
In addition to the discrimination that occurs during the hiring process, disability discrimination laws also protect disabled workers from harassment, lack of reasonable workplace accommodations, and the creation of hostile or discriminatory work culture. Items classified as harassment may include offensive images, pantomimes, jokes, slurs, or derogatory remarks. The offender does not have to be your boss. You might file a complaint if these inappropriate actions came from a co-worker, customer, or vendor.
How to File a Disability Discrimination Claim
If you believe you have been discriminated against in the workplace due to a disability, you have the right to pursue legal action. You should consider filing a written complaint with your supervisor and human resources department, keeping a copy for your records. Document each incident thoroughly, noting the time, date, place, and any witnesses. You may file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Claims should be filed within 180 days of the illegal action, although this deadline may be extended to 300 days in some cases. You may also file a local claim with the New York State Division of Human Rights or the New York City Commission on Human Rights. You should always speak up about discrimination or harassment in your workplace. Remember, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an individual for filing a disability discrimination lawsuit or claim.
Damages to Recover from Disability Discrimination
If you were a victim of employee disability discrimination in the workplace, you could be entitled to compensation for lost wages and benefits, emotional distress, attorney’s fees, and punitive damages. The court may also order an employer to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities in the workplace, which may include making the workplace more accessible, modifying equipment or work schedules, offering additional training or interpreters, allowing trained support animals in the workplace, reassigning work duties as necessary, permitting an employee to work from home, providing additional breaks, or granting an extension of medical leave.
Consult Our Employment Disability Discrimination Attorneys
At Filippatos PLLC, we believe all individuals – from boardroom executives to factory workers – are entitled to fair pay and a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. Contact our disability discrimination attorneys in White Plains, NY today to schedule a free initial consultation. Let us put our legal expertise to use in defending your workplace rights. View our testimonials to see how we fight for the rights of workers just like you!