The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) was designed to help protect people from discrimination in the workplace. However, far too many people don’t understand their rights, and as a result, they don’t take the steps needed to make sure they are treated fairly. McCarthy Weisberg Cummings, P.C. can help if you have any reason to believe your employer has treated you unjustly due to your disability.
We’re conveniently located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with access to claims across the capital city region.
Employment Laws When Living With a Disability
The ADA makes employment-based discrimination against someone living with a disability illegal. Under Title I of the ADA, employers who have at least 15 workers must provide qualified employees with disabilities equal access to the employment and related opportunities offered to others.
Under Title I, employers cannot ask about a disability before making a job offer and cannot discriminate during hiring, promotions, pay, recruitment, training or another aspect of employment. Unless doing so would cause unreasonable hardship, employers must make reasonable accommodation for a qualified individual living with a disability.
Types Of ADA Violations
ADA violation attorneys represent clients in a wide range of cases. Disability law is complex and, while there are many exemptions, the ADA clearly spells out a number of employment-related violations:
While disability law can be complex, an experienced ADA lawyer will have the skill and knowledge needed to provide you with the best possible representation. There are many different types of ADA violations employers commit. These include:
- Failure to hire — To be in compliance with the ADA, an employer can’t choose not to hire someone simply because of a disability. There are some positions that are exempt from this requirement, but if someone is able to perform a job with reasonable accommodations, disability can’t be the main reason he or she isn’t hired.
- Failure to make reasonable accommodations — Employers are required by law to make accommodations for disabled employees. For example, this can mean constructing entry and exit ways that are accessible by a wheelchair. This is probably the category that spurs the most ADA lawsuits.
- Job discrimination — Unfortunately, there are many instances where someone with a disability is hired simply as a concession to affirmative action requirements. That person is then held down in his or her career as a result. But just because someone is disabled, it doesn’t mean an employer should use that as an excuse to assign menial tasks or otherwise marginalize the employee. Talk to an ADA lawyer if you have any reason to believe this is happening to you.
- Retaliation/wrongful discharge — Employers will sometimes violate the ADA by retaliating against someone who has filed a workers’ compensation claim after being disabled on the job — or might even terminate that employee wrongfully. Sometimes they will simply choose not to provide the proper accommodations for disabled employees. Pennsylvania is an “at-will” employment state, meaning an employer doesn’t have to provide a reason when terminating a non-contract worker. However, that still doesn’t mean you can be fired or have action taken against you just because you’re disabled. If you suspect that’s the case, you can sue for damages.
PA ADA Laws
In addition to federal laws, there are also state laws designed to protect workers living with a disability. The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act is the law that could impact you if you live with a disability and work in Pennsylvania. Under this law, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against independent contractors or employees based on non-job-related disabilities. This law also makes it illegal to discriminate against a worker or contractor because of their need of a guide or a service dog.
Some employers are exempt from this rule by a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception. Unlike the federal ADA, Pennsylvania laws cover all employers who have at least four workers.
Under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, employers cannot:
- Ask about or document past disabilities of any kind
- Refuse work with someone because of their ability if the person is the most competent for the job
- Refuse employment based on a past disability
- Post job ads suggesting discrimination or preferences when it comes to service animals or disabilities
- Deny employment benefits or equal jobs to someone because of a disability
- Discriminate based on a disability
- Encourage others to discriminate based on a disability
While the Americans With Disabilities Act and state laws mandate disability workplace accommodations, workers living with a disability may still face discrimination. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to prove. Employers may allege other candidates or employees were more qualified for a position or promotion. They may also claim BFOQ exception or may allege reasonable accommodations pose undue hardships. In some cases, employers may claim there were other reasons why someone with a disability was passed over for a job, social event or other benefit.
Reporting An Ada Violation
You have the right to report any type of ADA violation to an attorney, who will then work to protect your rights. There are a couple of things you’ll need to know when you do this. First, try to obtain any medical records you can that may be able to help substantiate your claim. But if you can’t get these or any other documents to support your case, that’s fine. Your attorney will help gather and organize anything you may need.
What to Do if You Suspect Discrimination
Whether it’s a condition that has been present since birth, or something you are still in the process of adjusting to, living with a disability is difficult enough. It isn’t something that should affect your ability to, like all Americans, support your family in a job you are fully qualified to do. If you’ve been passed over, let go or otherwise suffered problems on the job as a result of a disability, contact McCarthy Weisberg Cummings, P.C. today. Our experienced discrimination attorneys can assess your case and advise on your legal options to more forward with dignity and strength.
To schedule such a consultation, call us today at 717-238-5707 or contact us online.