Disabled people in Minnesota and across the United States who are seeking employment are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, employers are required to give employees and prospective employees the same courtesies and opportunities accorded to people who are not disabled. However, there can be disagreements in how the ADA is interpreted and people who believe they have been discriminated against because they are disabled should be aware of how the law addresses these issues. One consideration that must be factored in is whether the needs of the employee fall into the category of undue hardship.
As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, Minnesota residents who have a legal disability under federal or state law have certain rights in the workplace. Among these rights are the right not to be harassed at work due to their disability. Likewise, an employer may not fire, refuse to hire, or take other adverse action against an employee because of her disability. Finally, an employer has an obligation to provide what the law calls a reasonable accommodation to someone who has a condition that is a disability.
Those in Minneapolis who are hunting for a job may face a long road ahead of them. Sometimes it takes many job applications and several interviews before a person lands the job they've been looking for. Those who have a disability may be fearful that they won't be hired due to their disability. However, per the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), employers cannot engage in disability discrimination against qualified job applicants with a disability.
Ask any disabled person, and they will likely tell you that they would rather be able-bodied and not have anything slow them down. Unfortunately, there are some things in life we don't get a say in, and suffering from a disability is usually one of those things. However, a person still has to make a living wage and support him or herself, disability or not. With employment law, an employer has a duty to accommodate a disabled employee.
Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited by many different state and federal laws. Minnesota workers cannot be discriminated against in their jobs based on their age, gender, race, religious affiliation or a number of other protected classifications. When discrimination threatens the work of a person, they may have options under the law to protect their rights.
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.