Despite the state and federal laws put in place, many employees with disabilities face discrimination in the workplace. Disability discrimination describes any verbal or physical conduct directed towards an individual that can cause a hostile work environment. This can include not providing the accommodations necessary to help an employee with a disability to maintain their workplace performance.
Should you be faced with disability discrimination in the Seattle area, you don’t have to deal with this issue alone. The discrimination attorneys at HKM Employment Attorneys will act as your advocates throughout your case, from filing the initial complaint to going to court against your employer.
What Causes Disability Discrimination?
While it may seem challenging to pin down what leads to disability discrimination, we’ve listed some factors thought to be the leading causes:
Social and Cultural Factors
Social and cultural barriers are among the leading causes of disability discrimination. Although we’ve made lots of progress as a society, there are still stigmas that make it difficult for disabled individuals to receive the aid they need for their daily activities.
This type of discrimination isn’t limited to those with permanent disabilities. Should an employee become pregnant, then their job is obligated to provide accommodations for them throughout their pregnancy as well as after the child is born.
Lack of Accommodation
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has provided guidelines for providing accommodations for employees with disabilities. If a business fails to comply with these guidelines, then the employee may have recourse for a discrimination lawsuit. An example would be a job that doesn’t have wheelchair access for those who need them or does not provide appropriate aid for employees with hearing or visual impairments.
Lack of Inclusion
Some employers just don’t believe a person with a disability can perform well on the job. The ADA addresses the problem of isolation by prohibiting any employer from excluding an individual from employment opportunities based on their disability. It also prohibits employers from creating administrative barriers for disabled employees.
What is the Interactive Process in Washington?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers should provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with disabilities. Sometimes these accommodations are self-evident. An employee that uses a wheelchair will need certain accommodations to enter and navigate the workplace without issue.
However, it is not always evident what an employee may need for a particular disability. To help employers in these situations, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EOCC) recommends using an interactive process, including an evaluation of all employee needs if those needs are not apparent. The evaluation includes:
Recognizing the Request for Accommodation
The interactive process begins when an employee with a disability requests an accommodation. The employee should write down their request for posterity and send it to their employer or the appropriate department. Your request can include documentation of your disability.
Once the request has been received, employers should find all the necessary information required to process it.
Explore Accommodation Options
Next, the employer should explore their available options for meeting their employee’s needs. If they like, the employee who files the request can make suggestions of appropriate changes that can be made.
Choosing the Accommodation
Having explored all the available accommodation options, employers should choose the most effective option to implement. If there is more than one option, the employer may consider the employees’ preference. Employers are free to test various options with the employer before choosing.
Implementing the Accommodation
If any equipment is involved, it should be installed properly and employees should be trained on using it. Managers and human resources personnel should be informed if the accommodation involves a change in workplace policies and schedules.
Monitoring the effectiveness of the accommodation is an important, yet mostly ignored, section of the interactive process. In some situations, the accommodation fails for several reasons, including workplace changes, employee limitation, or it causes undue hardship for employers.
Seek Legal Assistance from Disability Discrimination Lawyers
If you’ve made a reasonable request for accommodation due to a disability and your employer ignored you, then you may have a claim for disability discrimination. The best way to determine if you have a valid case is to reach out to an employment attorney based in the Seattle area.
At HKM Employment Attorneys, we bring years of experience to every discrimination case we handle. During your initial consultation, we’ll listen as you present the details of your case and then advise you on the best way to move forward with a claim or settlement.