Many of our readers are familiar with some of the basics functions of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from reading previous posts here. In essence, the EEOC investigates claims of discrimination in workplaces throughout the country, including in Minnesota. Disability discrimination is just one area the EEOC focuses on.
There are a few different ways in which disability discrimination can occur in the workplace. First, some people may not realize that even people who are just applying for a job – not actual employees – may have a claim if they believe they have been subjected to disability discrimination. Employment laws state that employers cannot reject an applicant simply due to a disability. If the applicant is qualified, the employer can hire the person and provide “reasonable accommodations” for the disability.
But, more often than not, disability discrimination occurs with present employees. For instance, some disabled employees may be subjected to harassment or offensive remarks. If this type of behavior becomes a pattern that leads to the work environment becoming hostile for the disabled employee, there may be a claim for disability discrimination, which the EEOC can investigate.
As useful as it can be to have the EEOC investigating your potential claim, it is important for employees in Minnesota to understand that this agency is, like many other government agencies, overburdened with significant caseloads. If you have been subjected to disability discrimination, it might be a good idea to get more information about your potential legal claim while the EEOC is continuing its investigation of the alleged discrimination.