Disability discrimination happens when an employer treats a disabled employee or disabled applicant unfairly because of their disability. It is also the act of treating an applicant or employee who has a history of disability unfairly. This means the employer maltreats you, for example, because you had a medical illness like cancer that is in remission or controlled. The disability could also be a mental or physical impairment that is minor or is expected to last approximately six months.
Disability discrimination laws in Washington, D.C. are specific to the district. The DC Human Rights Act of 1977 protects District of Columbia employees from disability discrimination.
No employer covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (which covers federal employees, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)) can discriminate against you. The law requires your potential or current employer to reasonably accommodate your disability. The only exception is if the expense of reasonably accommodating you causes them undue hardship.
Also, your employer cannot discriminate against you if your family member has a disability. For example, an employer can’t demote you because your spouse has a disability. For instance, it’s against federal law for your employer to assume your partner’s disability will interfere with your work.
Disability Discrimination and Harassment
Employment discrimination laws forbid any disability discrimination regarding various aspects of employment. This means that a prospective employer cannot refuse to hire you based on your actual or perceived disability. A current employer can’t demote, refuse to pay, fire, refuse to provide job assignments, or terminate your position because you have a disability.
It is also unlawful to harass an employee or applicant because they have a disability. Harassment includes making offensive remarks about your disability. Discrimination laws don’t prohibit isolated incidents or simple teasing. However, the frequency of those actions may cause an offensive or hostile environment. The hostile work environment becomes the basis for a disability discrimination claim. Disability discrimination lawyers can help you determine such situations.
Contact Us About Your Disability Discrimination Claim
It’s essential to understand the legal issues surrounding whether your case meets disability discrimination standards. Not everyone who has a disability is protected under the law. You must show or demonstrate that you are mentally or physically disabled. Remedies for unfair, discriminatory practices in the workplace include back pay, attorney’s fees, and damages. If you didn’t receive a motion, your employer might be ordered to promote you to that job position.
For guidance with your disability discrimination case, contact one of our discrimination lawyers for a consultation. HKM Employment Attorneys LLP is committed to protecting employee rights in District of Columbia workplaces.