Florida Disability And Handicap Discrimination Attorney
Both federal law and Florida law protect employees with disabilities or handicaps from discrimination in the workplace. These protections also extend to workers who are not disabled but who are perceived to have a disability, and as a result are treated as though they do. This includes discrimination in job application procedures, hiring, firing, training, promotions and other conditions of employment. These laws also protect disabled individuals from harassment in the workplace. If you need advice about your workplace rights and options for compensation, contact our experienced lawyers at the Law Office of William M. Julien, P.A., in Boynton Beach.
You Have A Right To Reasonable Accommodations
Employers are responsible for making reasonable accommodations for workers with genuine disabilities who are otherwise capable of performing the required work. The reasonable accommodations are meant to be worked out between the employer and the employee, and each side is under an obligation to work in good faith toward a mutually acceptable solution.
These accommodations might involve:
- Physical access to a desk or workstation
- Adapted computer equipment
- Reassignment of work schedules
- Devices to correct deficiencies in hearing or vision
- Allowances of time for medical treatment according to a schedule
Federal law states that these accommodations need to be considered “reasonable”. Reasonable accommodations do not include removing job functions that are essential, creating new jobs or providing personal need items like eyeglasses or wheelchairs. Employers are also not required to provide transportation as an accommodation for a commute to work under most circumstances. They may, however, need to make an accommodation by altering a work schedule for an individual who uses a wheelchair and commutes by public transportation, for example.
The regulations under the ADA can be complex, and it is important to speak with an experienced attorney for more information. We can educate you on your rights and what the law says regarding these accommodations.
Disability Protections Have Evolved
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or “ADA,” was passed in the early 1990s to protect the rights of employees with disabilities or handicaps. It prohibits discrimination based on disability or perceived disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to allow workers with disabilities to do their jobs. There are even protections for being discriminated against because of your association with a disabled loved one.
Over time, courts have interpreted the law in ways that made it unclear to most employees what protections were available to them under the ADA. To remedy this situation, Congress later passed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, or “ADAAA.”
If you are dealing with disability discrimination, the ADAAA should make it easier to file a successful claim. Firm founder William M. Julien has more than 29 years of experience protecting people’s rights in the workplace. He is committed to working with you to fight disability and handicap discrimination, and he has a long track record of success.
The ADA’s Definition Of Disability Is Changing
In order to qualify for disability under the ADA, you must prove that you have a disability that substantially limits a major life activity. In writing the ADAAA, Congress decided that the courts’ interpretation of the original ADA had been too strict. Many people with legitimate disabilities failed to qualify for protection. Congress has asked the EEOC to propose a definition that is closer to the lawmakers’ original intent.
- More “major life activities” are now covered by the ADA. Previously, courts had interpreted what was to be considered a major life activity under the Americans With Disabilities Act rather strictly. The ADAAA now makes it clear that bodily functions – such as normal cell growth, bladder and bowel control, immune system function, respiration, reproductive function and others – are to be considered major life activities. If you have been told that your disability is not protected under the ADA, you should check again.
- You no longer have to prove your employer understood your disability. Under the old rules, an employee who complained about disability discrimination had to demonstrate that his or her employer believed that the particular disability substantially limited a major life activity. This was very difficult. With the ADAAA, the employee only needs to prove that the employer thought he or she had a disability and discriminated against him or her because of it.
An injured employee with a workers’ comp claim may also be entitled to the protections under disability laws. An employer may not retaliate against an employee who seeks disability benefits or additional recovery time. When this procedure breaks down, or when an employer’s unwillingness to accommodate a disability or handicap leads to problems for the employee, our firm is ready to litigate disability discrimination claims anywhere in Florida.
Discrimination Based On Association With A Disabled Loved One
An employer cannot discriminate against an employee or an applicant on the basis of a disability, a perceived disability or the association with a disabled loved one. For instance, an employer may not discriminate against you because of the expense of a disabled loved one, such as the expense that may be added to a medical health insurance plan. They also cannot discriminate against you because of a disability association, even in a case where the disability is genetic and may be passed on, or when the disability of a loved one is labeled a “distraction.”
Your right to associate with a disabled loved one is clear under the law, and if your employer has used this association as the basis to terminate, harass or refuse to hire you, talk with an experienced employment law lawyer as soon as possible.
Was Your Termination Actually Discrimination?
Most of our clients have been fired for what are stated to be performance-related reasons, but that very often turn out to be prohibited discrimination on the basis of a disability or a handicap (or the perception that they were disabled, which is also an illegal basis for discrimination). Our skill with the investigation and presentation of detailed evidence that both establishes liability against the employer and proves the amount of your damages can help you recover from both the economic loss and the humiliation of discriminatory practices in the workplace.
Talk To Lawyers Who Listen And Care – Contact Us Today
If you need help determining whether you have a disability or assistance with filing a claim under the ADA, reach out to our experienced attorneys at the Law Office of William M. Julien, P.A. We offer free initial consultation and take cases on a contingency fee basis. You owe no attorney fees unless your case is successfully resolved.