If you have a medical diagnosis of a physical or mental impairment that adversely impacts your ability to perform a major life activity, you are considered to have a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects all employees with disabilities who work for companies with 15 or more employees from discrimination in the workplace.
In Indiana, you’re also protected by civil rights laws enforced by the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC). Chapter 5 of the Indiana Civil Rights Laws prohibits discrimination in the workplace due to disability and protects employees of businesses that employ 15 or more workers.
The ICRC also has a relationship with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency charged with overseeing discrimination cases in the workplace. If you choose to file a complaint, you may do so with either agency.
If you have a disability, your employer is required to provide accommodations to assist you with completing your job duties, provided that you are qualified to perform those duties and the accommodations are reasonable.
What Are Reasonable Accommodations?
Reasonable accommodations modify the work environment or equipment used to enable the person with a disability to fulfill their job duties. These adjustments must not cause “undue hardship” to the business. Some examples include:
- Making the office space and other facilities accessible, or allowing the person with the disability to telecommute
- Modifying or adding equipment or training materials for the person with the disability
- Providing a reader or interpreter
- Providing additional breaks or leave
- Changing an employee’s work schedule
- Restructuring an employee’s job
What Is the Interactive Process in Indiana?
Employees with disabilities go through what is called an “interactive process” to determine which reasonable accommodations are needed for employees to effectively perform their job functions. The ADA describes the following steps:
- The employer analyzes the essential duties of the job
- The employer and the employee with the disability identify barriers to job success
- The employer, with help from the employee, identifies a variety of potential accommodations
- The employer assesses each accommodation for effectiveness, gathers preferences from the person with the disability, and ensures the accommodation doesn’t pose “undue hardship” to the business.
This process is essential to the success of the employee with the disability and helps employers avoid workplace discrimination.
What Is Disability Discrimination?
Qualified individuals with disabilities are protected under federal and state laws from enduring unlawful discrimination or harassment. Examples of disability discrimination and harassment include:
- Failing to provide reasonable accommodations that would allow the employee with the disability to perform their job, or retaliating against an employee for requesting the accommodations they are entitled to
- Denying hiring or promotions to a person with a disability
- Wrongfully terminating an employee with a disability
- Withholding wages or benefits from an employee with a disability
- Harassing or intimidating someone with a disability in the workplace
- Denying medical leave that the employee is entitled to under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Requesting that an employee provide private medical information or take medical exams
Some medical conditions, such as pregnancy, are not considered disabilities under the ADA. But there are laws that protect pregnant women from discrimination and harassment.
Disability Discrimination Attorney in Indianapolis
If you’ve been a victim of employment discrimination, whether you’ve experienced disability discrimination, age discrimination, sexual harassment, or other legal issues, you should seek legal advice from a law firm.
The lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP have the knowledge and experience to answer all your questions about employment law. If necessary, they’ll support you in a lawsuit against your employer and help you achieve monetary compensation. Visit our law office in Indianapolis for a consultation.