Equality in the work environment is often a clear and obvious expectation for workers beginning their employment. Although it is expected, it does not mean that it is appropriately established and carried out by employers. Employment discrimination is often based on characteristic traits and could lead to a hostile work environment regardless of whether an employee decides to put up with the situation or speaks out about it.
When an employee has a disability, their employer is often made aware of this. This is often because they need specific accommodations or modifications so they can carryout the duties of the job. For most, this can easily be completed with little to no disruption in the work environment. Employers who are readily able to make specific accommodations for an employees' disability, yet refuse to make changes to assist their needs, could be guilty of disability discrimination. This recently occurred when a Minnesota employer denied an employee bathroom breaks, which were required due to a medical condition.
According to reports, the 51-year-old employee has endured several surgeries, which caused her to be left with intestines much smaller than the average person. This required her to need frequent bathroom breaks to get through the workday.
In August of 2012, the employee was repeatedly denied bathroom breaks, which resulted in the employee urinating in a box on the factory floor. This ultimately led to her termination. Following her wrongful termination, the fired employee won back her job after arbitration. The employee is now suing her former employer for discrimination and lost wages.
When an employee believes they are experiencing discrimination in their work environment, they should understand that they might have a cause of action. Discrimination can take many forms, including unfair treatment due to one's disability, race or ethnicity, religion or gender.
Those dealing with a situation of employment discrimination need to understand that they have legal options. Experienced legal professionals will ensure the victim's rights are protected and that they receive all the compensation to which they are entitled.
Source: Daily Mail, "Woman sues company after being forced to pee in a cardboard box because her supervisor refused her a bathroom break," Ryan Gorman, March 3, 2014