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2 times workers may face employment-related disability discrimination

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2023 | Employment Law

female worker in wheelchair working at computer

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a crucial federal law that protects employees with disabling medical conditions from discrimination in the workplace. Florida also has state statutes that clarify and expand certain rights for those with developmental disabilities.

In general, employers should not discriminate against individual workers based on their disabling medical conditions. In fact, companies have a legal obligation to accommodate workers who could perform a job, even if that performance requires reasonable accommodations and deviations from standard practices. If someone can perform their job with an adjusted schedule or assistive technology, for example, their limitations related to their health should not influence their career.

Unfortunately, many employees in Florida with disabling medical conditions experience discrimination related to employment. When does that discrimination typically occur?

During the hiring or promotion process

One of the most common forms of disability discrimination is also one of the most difficult to prove. Companies may make negative employment decisions about individuals who show up for an interview with a visibly obvious disability. Someone who, on paper, could easily perform the job ends up discounted as a candidate because they use a wheelchair or crutches or have a stutter that manifests during the interview.

Discrimination can also occur when a worker seeks a promotion. Workers who were previously on The fast track toward a management job or moving upward within the company might find that they no longer receive full consideration for promotions and other advancement opportunities.

After an injury or diagnosis

Many people develop medical issues when they already have a job and then need to work with their employer to reduce how their health issues affect their job performance and career ambitions. Whether a worker needs to shift their schedule so that they can attend daily physical therapy, take a leave of absence to undergo surgery or require assistive technology to continue performing their job, employers should cooperate with them by providing medical accommodations. Only in cases where the requested support would cause undue hardship is it appropriate for an employer to refuse to help keep a worker with a disabling medical condition on the job.

Anyone who believes that their medical condition has started affecting their career as a result of their employer’s attitude toward them may be in a position to take action related to disability discrimination. Recognizing when companies are most likely to violate a worker’s rights may help people to better understand when to both seek legal guidance and advocate for themselves after experiencing unfair treatment on the job.