Based on the verdict rendered by a Nevada Federal Jury, Delta Air Lines now finds itself paying the price for employment discrimination due to a lawsuit filed under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The unnamed plaintiff will be awarded $1.3 million that includes punitive damages on account of the original claim that Delta failed to render proper accommodation to an HIV-positive employee and later terminating said employee after a related two-day absence from work. The individual claimed that the airline’s medical insurance failed to provide timely medication and that the work missed on account thereof was protected by federal law, according to Cision PR Newswire.
A jury of eight Nevada citizens unanimously delivered the verdict after deliberating for several hours.
Employment discrimination can adopt several different forms under Nevada and federal law alike, and employees should be well aware of their rights with respect thereto. In addition to protected categories like race, color, sex or gender, age (if over 40), national origin, and religion, any number of disabilities may become cause for discrimination in the event an employer fails to provide proper accommodations or otherwise unfairly target an employee due to medical reasons or disabilities that are either temporary or permanent.
If you believe as an employee that your disability has elicited inappropriate conduct by your employer, speaking with an attorney may be essential. There is no substitute for justice when circumstances outside of your control become a source of inequitable treatment.
Is Your Employer Treating You Differently Due to Disability?
Discrimination is not always obvious, but nor is distinct and potentially disparate treatment always a product thereof. While employers may make mistakes when attempting to remain on the right side of the law, they still must be held accountable.
As noted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), “The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the nation’s first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.”
An individual is considered disabled when any major life activity is limited by a significant mental or physical difference. Should said individual be subject to any kind of disparaging treatment on account of that disability, an employer may be running afoul of federal law and thereby should be held accountable. This applies to questions pertaining to hiring decisions and other business-related activities like promotions, opportunities, training, and the extent to which one might be treated differently by managers or subject to a generally hostile work atmosphere. When a disabled employee is every bit as qualified as his or her coworkers, disparate treatment becomes legally problematic.
On the one hand, this means that an employer must make reasonable accommodations for employees known to have a disability. On the other hand, it also means that a potential employer cannot legally ask someone about a disability during the hiring process. These federal laws apply to any employer with at least 15 employees.
In the event that you believe you have been subject to this kind of discrimination, you should speak with an attorney quickly. There are, for example, time limits associated with how long one has to file a charge with the EEOC, whereby a “right to sue” may be established. HKM Employment Attorneys has a long history of successfully representing clients from around the nation and in Nevada specifically. In order to set up an appointment, simply fill out our online form located here.