Disability Discrimination

Disability Discrimination

Being discriminated against for any reason is a terrible experience.. Many individuals find that they are treated unfairly due to certain disabilities they may have, and are not given fair chances due to certain limitations. Fortunately, there are various laws set in place that were created to protect individuals in certain situations.

What is a Disability?

 

There can be some questions as to what is considered a disability, because not all disabilities are apparent. A disability is typically defined as an impairment that limits someone’s everyday capabilities. 

While an attorney can help you understand if your specific situation involves disability discrimination, it is important to note that covered disabilities can include both mental and physical impairments. This means anatomical losses that affect at least one part of the body, physiological conditions or disorders, and cosmetic disfigurements. Generally speaking, the disability would have to substantially limit an individual’s ability to perform certain daily activities that others do not typically struggle with.

The U.S. Department of Labor lists the following as some examples of potential disabilities:

  • Autism
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Blindness
  • Cancer
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deafness
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV
  • Significant depression
  • Mobility impairments that require wheelchair use
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia

Disability Discrimination Laws

 

Many of these are federal laws, but depending on the state you are in, there may also be state laws in place that protect you. These laws are meant to protect disabled individuals from discrimination in a variety of situations, such as:

  • Housing
  • Voting
  • Public accommodations
  • Employment
  • Education

There are many types of disabilities. For example, with housing, one could experience disability discrimination in a multitude of ways such as:

  • Housing Units with Accessibility Challenges – John, a person with a disability who uses a wheelchair visits an apartment building with an intent to lease a unit.  When he arrives, he finds that there aren’t any accessible parking spaces in the parking lot.  As he enters the available apartment unit, his wheelchair barely fits through the door and he hits his arms on the way in.  Inside the apartment the light switches are too high, the bathrooms don’t have grab bars and the thermostat is too high for him to reach.  John files a complaint with HUD because the apartment complex fails to comply with accessibility requirements which is a form of disability discrimination.
  • Reasonable Accommodation – Jane, an individual with a developmental disability that impacts her ability to manage her own finances shares with the building manager that her mother will be paying her rent.  Because her mother would be paying the rent, she requested that the notices of rent be sent to her mother.  The building manager denied her request to send notices to her stating that policy was to send notices to residents only.  Several months later, she was served with an eviction notice because her mother was never sent a notice that her rent had increased.  This violation resulted in Jane filing with HUD because she was denied reasonable accommodation.

Whether it involves housing, voting, public accommodations or another scenario disability discrimination can happen easily and could result in a lawsuit.  Disability lawsuits can take time to resolve and while you are awaiting a settlement you could benefit from using pre-settlement funding.

Types of Disability Discrimination Cases

 

Violations of disability discrimination laws can vary and will depend on many factors. For example, a business that doesn’t provide other entrance options for those with certain physical disabilities, or a business turning down a job applicant strictly because of his or her disability could be liable if a lawsuit was brought on behalf of an injured party.

The variety of types of businesses, the complications of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the lack of understanding by many as to what is needed to provide a reasonable accommodation can result in many victims of discrimination.  Disability discrimination can occur in businesses of all sizes from smaller organizations, franchises, to multinational corporations. The following are a few examples of disability discrimination cases selected by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):

  • Accommodation in an Interview Process – During a pre-employment interview a company failed to provide a sign language interpreter for a hearing-impaired individual a sign language interpreter despite the individual’s request. The company denied the request because the services cost more than $200. The individual sued and the federal count found the company had violated the law by not providing the accommodation requested. 
  • Epilepsy and Drug Testing – An individual applied for a job as a cook at an assisted living facility.  A requirement of the screening process was to pass a drug test.  The applicant failed the drug test  due to her epilepsy medication and as a result was not hired.  This discrimination resulted in the defendant paying $80,000 to the applicant along with their business now having to train their staff on disability law and making annual reports to the EEOC for three years.
  • Hypertension and Workplace Duties – A hospice nurse who suffers from hypertension was required to visit multiple nursing homes each day.  The driving exacerbated her condition resulting in her request for being reassigned to a position that did not require extensive driving.  The defendant denied her request by not providing her with reasonable accommodation due to her disability. As a result, the defendant was ordered to pay $65,000 to the nurse, amend its accommodation policy, and provide training to its staff.

These are just a sample of disability discrimination cases, which may include pre-employment and workplace accommodations of employees, as well as different types of disabilities.  Whether you are an applicant, an employee, or an employer one must be aware of the potential for disability discrimination.

Disability Discrimination Act

 

Although disability discrimination can and does happen in a number of different scenarios, it is frequently seen in the workplace. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created to specifically prevent disabled individuals from being discriminated against in the workplace and all aspects of employment, including firing, hiring, pay promotions, layoffs, job assignments, fringe benefits, and so on. 

In searching about the ADA, you might discover that the EEOC has the authority to investigate and prosecute acts of discrimination covered by Title I of the ADA.  This means that most employers with at least 15 employees will have to adhere to ADA and be susceptible to investigation by the EEOC in reported acts of discrimination.

Additionally, the Act also prohibits harassment against someone due to their disability. For example, if a supervisor makes a negative remark towards an employee about his or her disability, this may be considered a violation of the act.

How USClaims Can Help During Your Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

 

For Plaintiffs:

Were you discriminated against in the workplace, or another situation, because of your disability? If so, you may already be working with an attorney on a lawsuit, which can potentially award monetary compensation. As you wait for your case to settle, keep in mind that you have options if the wait seems to be going on longer than you and your attorney anticipated.

At USClaims, we offer an alternative to those waiting on cases to settle; this is a process known as pre-settlement funding, also commonly referred to as a lawsuit advance. Contact us today to learn more!

For Attorneys:

Give your clients the confidence to let you do the work to reach the best possible settlement for their disability discrimination case.  Far too often clients want you to settle early due to challenges with their finances.  

At USClaims we offer pre-settlement funding to help cover those challenging bills that they need to pay until you settle their case.  Contact us today to see how we can help.

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