Of all the different forms of employment discrimination that people hear about in news reports - age, race and gender, for example - one form of discrimination that can "fly under the radar" is disability discrimination. Is this because disability discrimination is less common than other forms of employment discrimination? Perhaps. But, the fact remains that thousands of Americans, including many people in Minnesota, are productive parts of the workforce while living with a disability.
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.
Most people in Minnesota hardly think twice about their morning routine before work - getting ready and commuting. But, for individuals with disabilities, these daily tasks can be a major part of any given day, even before they get to work. And, when individuals with disabilities do get to work, they should not face additional hurdles.
A pregnancy can be a difficult time in life for a woman. Despite all of the clichés about pregnancy, hormones and cravings, most woman actually enjoy being pregnant, knowing that they are going to be welcoming a new addition to the family within just a few months time. Unfortunately, not everyone is sensitive to the various issues that a pregnant woman can face. In the workplace, an employer may begin to treat a pregnant employee differently because of the pregnancy.
While quite a bit of attention has been paid to sex-based discrimination and harassment both in the news media and in previous posts on this blog, it is important for Minnesota residents to remember that there are many other forms of discrimination that occur in the workplace as well. Age, race, gender and religious discrimination are all still issues that employees and employers alike deal with on a seemingly routine basis. There are laws in place to protect workers from these types of scenarios. For disabled employees, they are protected from discrimination in the workplace by the Americans with Disabilities Act -- commonly known as the "ADA."
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."