Federal and state laws forbid discrimination against employees based on their disabilities – or their perceived disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act both offer protection to employees with an impairment that substantially limits a “major life activity” such as walking, sitting, standing, or hearing. If you can perform the essential functions of your job, even if it requires some “reasonable” accommodation to do so, you’re protected under federal and state law. You are also protected if your employer perceives you to be disabled, based on a prior condition or the myths and stereotypes associated with disabilities.
Certainly, the term includes measures such as wheelchair ramps — but it also might mean a modified work schedule, some specialized training, or a change in duties. Unless such tweaks would impose “undue hardship” on your employer, you’re entitled to any adjustments that will help you to perform the essential functions of your job while dealing with the symptoms associated with a disability.
If you’ve been wrongfully fired because you sought a workplace accommodation, federal and state law may apply. The Friedmann Firm represents employees who have faced bias due to disabilities. Our disability discrimination attorneys are based in Cleveland, Ohio and are fully equipped to handle cases such as these.
If you have suffered illegal discrimination under the ADA, you may be entitled to recover back pay, compensatory damages, and disability discrimination attorney fees. In addition, punitive damages are available if an employee can show that the employer engaged in a discriminatory practice with malice or reckless indifference to the employee’s rights.
As with all legal claims, deadlines are crucial. Employees generally must file a charge of discrimination within 300 days following an adverse employment action.
The ADA requires an employer to make such reasonable accommodations for disabled employees unless doing so would impose an undue hardship. Reasonable accommodations might include:
The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (“ADAAA”) strengthened the ADA and eliminated loopholes created by various court decisions. In particular, the ADAAA:
Possibly. Until the ADAAA passed, chances are that you would not have been deemed protected. Under the ADAAA, however, the ADA embraces injuries from which you’ll recover — but that are serious enough to “substantially limit” one or more major life activities. Typically, you are not protected if the medical condition is considered “transitory and minor” and lasts less than six (6) months. Common examples include: flu, cold and elective surgeries.
Employers must engage in an “interactive process” to determine if any “reasonable accommodations” exist that could allow a disabled employee to do his or her job. This doesn’t mean that an employer must give you everything you ask for. Instead, employers and employees must engage in a good-faith dialogue to see if there are any adjustments that would allow you to do your job without imposing an undue hardship on your employer.
Contact an attorney. You may be able to take legal action against your employer. To gain a full understanding of your rights, consider reaching out to a Friedmann Firm attorney. Contact The Friedmann Firm by calling 440-703-8550 or find us online to schedule a free consultation.