A disability can be something that a Minnesota person is born with or it may be acquired after an illness or injury. Disabilities can be physical and can manifest by problems with individuals' movement, balance, or coordination. They may also be mental and can impact how individuals think, feel, and perceive their surroundings.
Mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD seem to be increasing each year. Many potential employees will fail to even apply for a job because they fear being immediately turned down due to these types of conditions. What they fail to realize is that mental health conditions are covered under the same legal protections as physical health conditions. As such, it is the sole decision of a job applicant whether or not to disclose this information in a job interview, or at any time thereafter unless required for accommodations or benefit eligibility.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is a broad piece of legislation that is intended to protect disabled Americans from the discriminatory practices of employers, governments, and other entities. A person who qualifies as disabled under the definition of the law may invoke its protections when another party has acted in a prohibited and illegal way. It is an unfortunate truth that disability discrimination often occurs when disabled Minnesota residents are seeking employment.
People have the right to try and earn a living and support themselves to the best of their ability. While this may be easy for some Minnesota residents, it is harder for disabled individuals to find jobs for which they are otherwise qualified. Employers may hesitate to employ someone with a disability due to their own misconceptions about their condition, and when they discriminate against someone with a disability, employers violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
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?