Disability discrimination involves an employer considering an individual’s medical condition instead of their work history and job performance for employment-related decisions. When someone has a disabling medical condition, whether it is a permanent or temporary situation, employers should not make major decisions based on that condition but rather on the worker’s training, employment history, education and skillset.
Unfortunately, many companies still actively discriminate against workers with disabling medical conditions. Being able to recognize disability discrimination is the first step toward fighting back against it, so you should be on the lookout for any of the warning signs mentioned below.
The company refuses to make reasonable accommodations
When a worker has a significant condition that affects their daily life, it can be hard to do the same jobs as other people without those limitations or symptoms.
Workers may require help from their employer, like slightly altered job responsibilities or the right to work from home. Certain technology or even a wheelchair ramp can be reasonable accommodations to request from an employer.
When a company refuses to take little steps that would support a worker with a disability, they discriminate against that worker.
The company doesn’t hire or promote workers who disclose disabilities
Some workers with disabling medical conditions are able to hide their symptoms from their employer and co-workers.
Someone with a traumatic brain injury, for example, won’t necessarily have any visual indicators of their disabling medical condition. However, many workers have visible or obvious disabilities, and companies may discriminate against them as soon as they realize a worker has limitations.
Not hiring someone who shows up with crutches at an interview or hiring disabled workers but never allowing them to move up in the company beyond entry-level positions can both be warning signs of systemic discrimination against disabled workers at the company.
The company punishes those who need medical leave
You have the right to take necessary leaves of absence, including unpaid, extended leave, to care for your own health. Your employer should not penalize you for health-related absences or extended leaves required because of your condition.
If your employer writes you up for taking paid time off or terminates you for requesting extended leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, their actions could easily constitute a violation of your rights.
Understanding what forms of disability discrimination lead to worker claims can help you stand up for yourself at your place of employment.