Disability Rights

Disability Rights

When you have disabilities, the last thing you need is to face harassment, discrimination, or retaliation because of that disability. There are both state and federal laws that protect you in the event you are facing any type of discrimination simply because you have a disability.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed more than two decades ago to provide comprehensive civil rights protections to people with disabilities. Under the ADA, a disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual.” Major life activities include actions such as caring for yourself, walking, seeing, and working.

The ADA was designed to ensure all individuals with disabilities receive access to the same opportunities available to people without disabilities. The ADA guarantees people with disabilities equal opportunities in four major areas: employment, public accommodations, transportation, and housing. When a discriminatory barrier prevents access for a disabled person to one of these things, it may qualify as an ADA violation. In the workplace, you cannot be denied a job based on a disability, nor can you be passed over for promotion, be paid less than counterparts, or be treated in any manner that violates employment laws.

Employers are also required to make reasonable accommodations for employees with known disabilities. Reasonable accommodations can include changes to the work environment, assignments or workplace policies that allow a person with a disability to perform the duties of the job or to enjoy the benefits associated with the position. However, those changes must only be reasonable, meaning they do not unreasonably interfere with the regular operations, cost the employer unreasonable expense, unreasonably shift the work onto other employees or are otherwise an unreasonable hardship. An employer might change the work environment by altering the workstation, assignments, shifts, processes, communication methods or duties to permit a person with disabilities to perform the main functions of the job. For example, a desk could be moved to a more accessible location. A guide dog or an interpreter might accompany the worker to the office. Physical activity might be limited. Training materials or reports might be provided in writing or verbally.

Unfortunately, not all businesses and employers take this act as seriously as they should. Despite the protections that the ADA provides, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission continues to hear more charges of disability discrimination than any other complaint. The ADA provides legal recourse for disabled individuals who have been victims of discrimination. Sharp Law Firm has significant experience handling ADA violations and can help you ensure your rights are protected. Whether you were denied a job, unable to access public transportation, or suffered any kind of adverse action at a public space or workplace because of a disability, an ADA violation is an infringement upon your civil rights. With a successful disability claim lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensatory damages, lost wages, punitive damages, and attorney fees.