Disability Discrimination and Harassment
Both federal and state laws make it illegal to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of an employee’s disability. Someone who is living with a physical or mental impairment has the right to have reasonable accommodations that make it easier for him or her to carry out the essential functions of a job. An employee who has been denied a reasonable accommodation or encountered negative treatment in the workplace due to a disability has rights to defend. At the Maine Employee Rights Group, our Portland disability discrimination lawyers blend sensitivity and compassion with aggressive representation of our clients. Since 1994, we have committed our careers to the pursuit of justice for employees suffering from all forms of unfair, illegal treatment at their jobs.Federal Law Requires Employers to Provide Reasonable Accommodations
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees who are coping with physical or mental limitations. If these workers are qualified for their jobs, their employers are obligated to provide reasonable accommodations for a disability of which they are aware. Types of disabilities that fall within the ADA range from mental impairments to physical diseases such as cancer, heart conditions, diabetes, dyslexia, and genetic disorders, among others. If you are uncertain whether your condition qualifies as a disability, you should consider sharing the details of your situation with a lawyer who can advise you.
Reasonable accommodations are tailored to the type of disability that affects the individual employee. Workers who have a condition that affects their mobility may receive a more accessible route to the facility where they work, such as a handicapped parking space or ramps. An employee with an impairment may struggle to meet the requirements of a conventional work schedule, so the employer may be obligated to adjust that worker’s hours if doing so does not present an undue hardship on the employer. If certain training programs are not available to individuals with disabilities, the employer may need to provide comparable alternatives. Or equipment may need to be replaced or modified if it would be unsafe for someone living with a certain physical impairment to operate it.
Reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments to the manner or circumstances under which a job is customarily performed that enable a person with a disability to perform the core elements of the job. Someone who cannot perform the basic functions of a job with accommodations that are reasonable is not protected.
Beyond the right to receive reasonable accommodations, employees with disabilities have the right to be free from discriminatory actions in the workplace. Some of this conduct can take the form of remarks made directly to a worker living with disabilities, such as statements that the person can’t handle the job or is unsuited for it because of the person’s limitations. Insensitive comments ridiculing an employee’s disability also are illegal. On a broader level, an employer may violate the ADA by denying a request for time off from work to receive treatment for a mental or physical impairment. When an employer fires, demotes, or takes other adverse action against a worker who makes such a reasonable request for time off, for example, the worker may have a viable disability discrimination claim against the employer.
In addition to the federal laws prohibiting disability discrimination, The Maine Human Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against persons on the basis of disability. Thus, if you have experienced an adverse employment action as a result of your disability, a Maine employment discrimination lawyer can work with you to determine whether you have a valid claim against your employer and how best to pursue it.Contact Portland Lawyers Experienced in Disability Discrimination Claims
Living with a disability is never easy in any area of life. But there is no reason for an employer to make it even harder by denying a reasonable accommodation or insulting an employee living with mental or physical impairments. The law protects the dignity of disabled workers and their right to equal employment opportunities. With over 20 years of experience in employment law, the Bangor disability discrimination attorneys at the Maine Employee Rights Group are familiar with the process of pursuing these claims. We will fight for your rights tirelessly while treating you with the understanding that you deserve. If you feel that you may have a disability discrimination claim, you should call 207.874.0905 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation with one of our lawyers at no cost to you.
- Example of a case we handled involving discrimination against a client who had ongoing problems due to a traumatic brain injury.
- Example of a case where employee was terminated after requesting a reasonable accommodation for his PTSD disability
- Example of case where client’s job offer was withdrawn after client failed a required medical examination