People with disabilities have the right to seek employment, and in cases where the employee requires a reasonable accommodation to enable them to do the job for which they have applied, it is the employer’s legal responsibility to provide the accommodation to the employee. If you are living with a disability, you are probably used to advocating for yourself, and although people with disabilities similar to yours, as well as your friends and family, might easily understand what accommodations you need to practice your profession successfully, many disabilities remain widely misunderstood in society. The law does not require you to disclose any information about your disability, only to request the accommodations you require; unless the accommodations pose an undue burden on the employer, they must simply provide the accommodations. It sounds simple, but sometimes employers make it difficult for employees with disabilities to get reasonable accommodations in the workplace. The Indianapolis employment discrimination lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP can help you resolve dispute with your employer related to disability accommodations in the workplace.
Reasonable Accommodations for Employees With Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a federal law that requires public places, including places of employment, to be accessible to people with disabilities. The ADA also prohibits employment discrimination based on disability. Pursuant to the ADA, employees and job applicants with medically documented disabilities have the right to request reasonable accommodations for their disabilities, and employers have a legal responsibility to provide the requested accommodations. A disability is any physical or mental health condition that substantially interferes with the person’s daily life; a medical condition does not have to render a person completely unable to work in order to qualify as a disability.
The kind of accommodations the employee will require depends on the nature of the disability. These are some examples of accommodations that employees with disabilities sometimes receive from their employers, in accordance with the ADA:
- Changes to the workspace, such as wheelchair accessible desks, doorways, elevators, and hallways, standing desks, or ergonomic chairs
- Devices and software to accommodate Deaf or hearing-impaired employees or those who are blind or have low vision, such as text to speech or speech to text software
- Modifications of the work schedule, such as coordinating an employee’s shift with the availability of public transportation for people with disabilities, or allowing the employee to take breaks to administer medication or to miss work more frequently than company policy would ordinarily allow in order to attend medical appointments
- Removing non-essential job duties that pose a challenge for employees with disabilities but not for able-bodied employees
Although it may be obvious that the employee needs a certain accommodation in order to fulfill the essential functions of the job, the employer and the employee may disagree on whether the accommodation that the employee has requested is reasonable. The employer can avoid penalties for failure to make the accommodation if the employer can argue that the accommodation would cause undue hardship for the employer, which usually means undue financial hardship. For example, a small business owner might claim that, in order for the employee to access the office in his wheelchair, the employer would need to renovate the doorways, hallways, and bathroom of the lower floor of the building. The employer might offer the accommodation of having the employee work from home on most days and scheduling essential in-person meetings at a wheelchair-accessible location, such as a shared office space. The smaller the business, the fewer resources the law expects it to be able to dedicate to providing disability accommodations to employees. The smallest businesses are not required to make accommodations at all.
You are entitled to receive disability accommodations at every stage of the job application process, not only after you are hired. You also have the right to employer-provided accommodations during your interview, pre-employment testing, and training.
Workplace Discrimination Based on Disability
Disagreeing about what is a reasonable amount for an employer to pay for an employee’s accommodations is one thing, but flat out refusing to provide accommodations is another. In the former case, both parties can enter a dispute resolution process in order to agree on an accommodation that will enable the employee to do their job and which is within the employer’s budget.
Refusal to hire an employee because of the employee’s disability is only one form of employment discrimination based on disability. These are some other examples of disability discrimination:
- Terminating the employee’s job after the employee discloses their disability, requests an accommodation, or complains about the employer’s refusal to provide accommodations
- Demoting the employee or reassigning them to an undesirable schedule or undesirable tasks because of the aforementioned actions on the employee’s part
- Harassment, derogatory remarks, or offensive comments or jokes by supervisors or coworkers about the employee’s disability, whether these remarks are made directly to the employee or to other employees while the employee is present
All of these kinds of discrimination are illegal, and employees who faces these kinds of discrimination have the right to seek damages in a lawsuit.
Indianapolis Employment Lawyer for Disability Discrimination
Filing a formal complaint about workplace discrimination can be daunting; retaliation against employees who speak out against workplace discrimination happens often. Standing up for your rights in the face of employment discrimination is an arduous process, but working with an employment discrimination lawyer starting as soon as possible after the discriminatory behavior begins can make the process less stressful. Contacting the employment discrimination lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP is the first step to seeking justice.
Contact HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP About Employment Discrimination in Indianapolis
HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP represents employees who have experienced discrimination in the workplace because of their disabilities or their requests for reasonable accommodations. Your lawyer will help you seek justice and recover damages if you got fired from your job in retaliation for your discrimination employment. Contact the employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in Indianapolis, Indiana to set up a consultation.