Living with a disability can be tough, even in today's society that has made huge strides in keeping the "playing field" level for those who have disabilities. Despite the challenges they face, many people who have a disability are able to maintain employment and support themselves. And, for the most part, many employers are happy to accommodate disabled employees, if they have the right skills for the job. But, what happens when a Minnesota resident faces disability discrimination in the workplace? What are the options?
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.
Workers in Minnesota and throughout the country are protected by the rules and regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, also known as the "ADA." Some of our readers may be familiar with many of these protections, including that employers cannot discriminate against employees or potential employees due to the person's disability. Further, employers are required to provide "reasonable accommodations" for an employee's disability. But, there are some common misconceptions that employees and employers alike may have when it comes to the requirements of the ADA.
Most employers in Minnesota do their best to stay in compliance with all state and federal employment laws. But, there are some employers who don't meet this burden. Instead, they may engage in some type of employment discrimination. Disability discrimination is one example. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are required to provide "reasonable accommodation" to disabled employees. Of course, that term is a bit subjective. What exactly is a "reasonable accommodation" for a worker in Minnesota who has a disability?
Discrimination in the workplace occurs for many different reasons, as our readers who are familiar with previous posts here know. The good news is that many forms of discrimination are against the law, which means that Minnesota residents who have been subjected to employment discrimination may have legal recourse under various state and federal laws. When it comes to disability discrimination, workers in Minnesota are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, or "ADA."
Most of our readers in Minnesota know that the Americans with Disability Act is a federal law that protects workers from being subjected to discrimination it the workplace based on a physical or mental disability. But, despite the fact that this law was enacted 27 years ago, many disabled workers in Minnesota still face disability discrimination. If that is the case, what is the purpose of the ADA?
Many workers in Minnesota with disabilities are still able to perform a wide variety of jobs. They should not be discriminated against, be denied work opportunities or denied work altogether, just because they have a disability. Unfortunately, instances of discrimination occur on an all too frequent basis.
As discussed on this blog before, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers cannot discriminate against disabled workers in Minneapolis or anywhere else. It also requires employers to provide disabled workers with reasonable accommodations, either in the physical workplace or in the occupation itself, so that the worker can perform his or her job despite his or her disability. Some examples of reasonable accommodations are installing wheelchair ramps, providing a worker with a different desk or modifying the worker's work schedule.
Every person has a right to be treated fairly in the workplace. This rule is no different for workers with disabilities.
Sometimes, whether it is during a job interview, after a job offer or during the course of employment, an employer in Minnesota may request that an employee undergo a medical exam. However, there are a number of circumstances in which requesting a medical exam could constitute disability discrimination.