Maryland Employment Attorneys
Disability Discrimination In Employment
Individuals with disabilities are explicitly protected from discrimination in the workplace by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Employers are prohibited from asking about the existence, nature or severity of a disability. Asking for a medical exam is also illegal unless it is common practice for applicants or employees in that position.
The ADA defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. If an employee or an applicant for a position would be able to perform the essential functions of his or her job with a reasonable accommodation, it is unlawful for the employer to discriminate against that employee or applicant.
It is also unlawful for an employer to discriminate against someone with a perceived disability, regardless of the reality of the person’s condition. For example, the employer might believe – incorrectly – that an employee has AIDS and is therefore unable to perform job responsibilities; this employee may be unfairly denied a promotion.
If you have a disability, it is your responsibility to ask for an accommodation. While you need not cite any laws or use the term “reasonable accommodation,” it is incumbent upon the disabled individual to request needed assistance. Once the request is made, the employer may ask for some sort of proof of disability if the disability is not easily identifiable. But after legitimacy is established and the request for accommodation has been made, it is the responsibility of the employer to provide a reasonable accommodation that will allow the disabled employee to effectively overcome his or her workplace barrier.
An employer must provide reasonable accommodation so long as it is not an undue hardship on that employer. For example, providing unpaid leave for an employee whose medical condition limits him or her to a part-time schedule would be considered a reasonable accommodation. Extra paid leave, however, would pose an undue hardship on the employer and therefore would not be considered a reasonable accommodation.
Contact Our Maryland Employment Lawyers
If you have a disability that has led someone to deny you a position, or if you have been refused reasonable accommodation at your workplace, you might benefit from a consultation with a disability discrimination attorney at Zipin, Amster & Greenberg.