What is classified as disability discrimination?

Frank S. Clowney III

In California, an employer may be engaging in disability discrimination by treating a worker with a disability unfairly. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act list all disabilities that are covered. However, only certain employers are subject to these laws, and the number of an employees a business has generally determines if a particular employer is covered.

Disability discrimination laws prohibit an employer from making hiring, firing decisions or determining job assignments due to an employee’s disability. Furthermore, employers are not allowed to make salary decisions based on an employee’s disability. These protections also extend to anyone who may have a relationship with someone who has a disability. For instance, an employee who has a disabled sister could not be discriminated against due to that relationship.

Employers are not allowed to harass an employee due to his or her disability. Examples of harassment include rude comments, jokes or anything else that could create a hostile workplace. When dealing with a disabled employee, an employer is required to make reasonable accommodations for that employee. Accommodations may include adding a wheelchair ramp or modifying equipment for that employee. However, an employer is not required to make accommodations if it would impose an undue financial or logistical hardship on the business.

Any employee who believes that he or she has been the victim of workplace discrimination may wish to contact an employment law attorney may be able to establish that an employee was subject to a hostile work environment or was otherwise treated in an illegal manner. There are claim procedures that must be followed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which the attorney will describe.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, “Disability Discrimination“, October 29, 2014