Most people probably don’t think about disabilities when they think about discrimination in the workplace. These days, the news is focused on sexual harassment, in particular, along with some high-profile instances of discrimination based on race. However, it is an unfortunate reality that disability discrimination can be just as much of a problem in a workplace in Minnesota.

Fortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act provides legal protection for individuals who might face disability discrimination at work. The ADA, which was enacted into law in 1990, provides legal protection on multiple levels. First, for job applicants, the ADA prohibits employers from making hiring decisions based on a person’s disability or perceived disability. These applicants must be given the same opportunity to earn the job as applicants who do not have a disability.

Next, for employees who have already earned the job, the ADA prohibits employers from making decisions about promotions, training, compensation and job termination based on an individual’s disability. But, it is important to point out that a person’s disability must meet the legal definition of “disability” under the ADA, which is a mental or physical impairment that impacts a person by limiting a “major life activity.” This can include can include disabilities that hinder a person’s ability to talk or walk, or even see, among many other possibilities.

Minnesota residents who believe that they have been discriminated against in the workplace based on a disability, either physical or mental, may be able to find legal protection under the auspices of the ADA. For anyone who finds themselves in this type of situation, getting more information about their own unique circumstances may be needed.