Employees in Ohio and throughout the United States have a right to be free from discrimination based on their disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its Ohio counterpart protect potential and current employees against discrimination due to their disability. Unfortunately, many employers ignore these laws and keep discriminating against those with disabilities when making employment-related decisions.
Fighting for the Rights of Disabled Employees in Cincinnati
If you have experienced discrimination because you have a disability or medical condition, it is crucial that you understand your rights. Your employer cannot discriminate against you, refuse to make a reasonable accommodation, or allow a hostile work environment based on your disability. Similarly, your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing a claim or reporting disability-based discrimination. Contact the HKM Employment Attorneys to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced disability attorneys. During your initial consultation, we will listen to your case, answer your questions, and help you understand your legal options.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to protect employees with a disability from discrimination from employers or potential employers. The ADA protects employees working for an employer with 15 or more employees. The ADA prohibits employers from taking adverse action against employees and potential employees based on their disability or perceived disability. For example, an employer cannot take the following actions or actions against an employee because of their disability:
- Refusal to hire the employee
- Termination of the employee’s position without just cause
- Denial of training opportunities
- Denial of a promotion
- Denial of employment-related benefits
- Any other prohibited discriminatory actions
Your Rights Under Ohio Employment Laws
In addition to the Americans with Disabilities Act, most Ohio employees are also protected by Ohio’s anti-discrimination law. The Ohio Fair Practices Act Prohibits employees from discriminating against potential employees or current employees based on disability. Unlike the federal ADA law, Ohio’s antidiscrimination law protects employees with employers with four or more employees. Even if you are not protected under federal law, you could be protected from discrimination under Ohio’s law.
Under Ohio’s anti-discrimination law, the word disability means a physical or mental impairment substantially affecting at least one life activity, such as talking, saying, walking, hearing, working, breathing, sleeping, or learning. An employee can be considered disabled under the law if they have a record of disability or are regarded as disabled by others.
What is Considered a Reasonable Accommodation?
Under federal and Ohio law, employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities and job applicants. To receive a reasonable accommodation, an employee needs to have a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from performing one or more major life functions. A reasonable accommodation is something that will modify or alter an employee’s work environment or change how an employee performs the job. Reasonable accommodations allow employees with disabilities to perform essential functions.
An example of reasonable accommodation may be permitting an employee to change their schedule to four 10-hour shifts from five eight-hour shifts so the employee can receive medical treatment one day per week. Another accommodation would be modifying an employee’s workspace with a computer screen magnifier or stand-up desk or providing the employee with an interpreter. Employers are not required to make reasonable accommodations if the accommodation causes an undue burden on the employer.
How to File an Anti-Discrimination Claim in Ohio
Under Ohio law, employees can file a disability discrimination claim with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Ohio has a work-sharing agreement with the EEOC. These two organizations cooperate to process discrimination claims. Employees who file a claim can indicate that they would like their complaint to be cross-filed with the other agency.
You will need to file an administrative complaint before filing a civil lawsuit in a state or federal court. The deadlines for filing disability discrimination complaints are strict. If you file with the OCRC or cross-file with the EEOC, you must file an administrative complaint within 180 days of the discriminatory conduct. If you file with the EEOC or cross-file with the OCRC, you must file an administrative complaint within 300 days of the discriminatory conduct.
Remedies and Damages Available in Disability Discrimination Lawsuits
Victims of unlawful discrimination based on disability can pursue several different types of Remedies and compensation from their employer. as the plaintiff in a disability discrimination claim. You may have a right to pursue the following types of damages:
- Back pay and benefits
- Front pay for the time it took you to find other employment after being terminated from your position
- Reasonable attorneys fees and costs
- Out-of-pocket expenses, such as court filing fees
- Damages for emotional distress
In addition to compensation, the court may require your employer to hire you again or reinstate you to your previous position. In some cases, promotion could be warranted. You may be entitled to reasonable accommodations for your disability. In some cases, the court will require posting public notices regarding your employer’s violation of your civil rights. When the employee can prove that the employer intentionally discriminated based on their disability or perceived disability, additional punitive damages may be awarded.
Discuss Your Case With a Cincinnati Reasonable Accommodation Attorney
Have you or your loved one been discriminated against because of a mental or physical disability? If so, HKM Employment Attorneys is here to help. We have a proven track record of advocating for employees who face unlawful discrimination due to their disabilities.
We will carefully investigate your case, gather evidence, and advocate for the best outcome possible in your case. You only have a limited time to pursue a claim against your employer for discrimination. Contact HKM Employment Attorneys today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about how we can fight for you.