The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits disability discrimination against an individual based on their disability. The idea was to ensure that Americans with disabilities would have the same rights as everyone else. This includes all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, and job duties, and applies to businesses with 15 or more employees.
The Colorado Civil Rights Act further refines the rights of the disabled, prohibiting discrimination, and applies to businesses with two or more employees.
If you find yourself disabled while working, you can notify your employer of your disability, and request a reasonable accommodation. The company is required under the ADA to provide reasonable accommodation, as long as it does not impose an undue hardship on the employer. Otherwise, they are guilty of disability discrimination.
This reasonable accommodation would be provided to an otherwise qualified disabled employee, and would enable him or her to enjoy the same benefits and have the same level of performance as a non-disabled employee. The accommodations may not be exactly what the employee requested, but may be enough for the employee to continue working at a similar level than before.
These accommodations can include:
- Changing the employee’s work schedule
- Restructuring of the employee’s job
- Increasing accessibility to disabled employees
- Reassigning the employee to a currently vacant position
- Providing qualified readers and/or interpreters
- Modifying or obtaining equipment or devices
- Modifying or obtaining policies, training manuals, or exams
Once the employee requests an accommodation, the employer’s duty to provide one is initiated. Both the worker and the employer should have a conversation on exactly what the employee needs to continue working.
When the employer refuses to address disability discrimination
Because the ADA requires an employer to provide a reasonable accommodation to a qualified individual with a disability, refusing to accommodate a disabled employee may be able to create a claim for disability discrimination under the ADA. The accommodation is requested so that the disabled individual will be able to continue his or her employment as if they were not disabled, or as closely as they can.
The first step is to try to resolve the issue internally, within the company. Having a discussion with your supervisor or manager may be all it takes to resolve the issue. If your direct supervisor refuses, or is unaware of the requirement, a conversation with HR may be your next step. If that doesn’t help, you may have to file an internal complaint within the company. This will give the company a chance to remedy the problem. If they don’t, and you do end up filing suit, it will go a long way in demonstrating to the court that you gave the company adequate opportunity to correct the problem and provide an accommodation.
Should a company complaint not resolve the problem, the first step is to file a discrimination charge with the EEOC in order to preserve your right to file a lawsuit later. Once the EEOC has completed its investigation, it will issue a right-to-sue letter. You will then be cleared to file your lawsuit.
The EEOC has a web page with some facts about the ADA.
Your Denver disability discrimination attorney
Dealing with a disability is difficult enough. Working for an employer who doesn’t respect you as a valued member of the company because of your disability can make things even worse. You don’t have to be a victim against ridiculous discrimination tactics.
Call the Civil Rights Litigation Group at (720) 515-6165, or use our online contact form, to schedule your free consultation with us today. We’ll aggressively fight for you in court and make sure your rights are protected and you are treated fairly.