New York Disability Discrimination Attorney Representing Long Island Employees
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Employers cannot treat applicants or employees with visible or invisible disabilities unfavorably, and they cannot advertise jobs that unlawfully discriminate against people who have documented disabilities. In addition, the law requires an employer to provide a disabled employee with a reasonable accommodation as long as the accommodation would not cause any undue hardship to the employer, which the EEOC defines as an accommodation that would “cause significant difficulty or expense.” Whether you have been discriminated against on the basis of your disability, or you have been treated unfavorably at work due to your relationship with another person who has a disability, you should seek advice from one of our experienced disability discrimination lawyers in Long Island. Nobody should face adverse treatment in the workplace or job application process as a result of their disability.
Disability discrimination can occur anytime an employer (or potential employer) treats a job applicant or an employee unfavorably as a result of that person’s known disability, because that person has any type of physical or mental impairment that is expected to last six months or longer, or because the employer “perceives” that an applicant or employee has a disability.
Defining Long Island Disability Discrimination
In Long Island workplaces, disability discrimination is unlawful under both federal and state law. In terms of federal law, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) says that it is “unlawful to discriminate in employment against a qualified individual with a disability.” The ADA defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.” Under state law, the New York Human Rights Law (NYHRL) prohibits disability discrimination in the workplace.
The definition of a disability that qualifies for ADA protection can be a bit confusing in some cases. In order to be eligible for protection under the ADA, you must have (or you must have a history of) a condition that results in “substantial impairment,” which is understood to be “one that significantly limits or restricts a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, learning, or working.”
Disability discrimination can take many different forms in a Long Island workplace, including but not limited to:
- Intentional prejudice based on a person’s disability;
- Attempt to deny a person access to a job due to concerns about the disability;
- Advertising for workers without certain physical limitations due to disabilities that the employer believes would make it difficult but not impossible for such people to do the job;
- Having a “no pets” policy in the workplace that expressly includes any service animals for employees;
- Offering promotions or certain benefits to employees who are not disabled;
- Offering better shifts or job responsibilities to employees who do not have a documented disability;
- Asking job applicants to describe their physical or mental impairments in a job interview;
- Unlawfully denying reasonable accommodations for an existing employee;
- Making slurs or derogatory comments about an employee who has a disability; or
- Terminating an employee because of his or her disability.
Disability Discrimination as Harassment
Disability harassment can include offensive comments about a person’s disability, jokes about disabilities, or other harassing behaviors. It is critical to understand, however, that a mere comment in the workplace is typically not enough to constitute unlawful harassment. For a person to file a harassment claim, the behavior usually must be either so frequent or serious that it creates a hostile work environment.
Employers Must Provide Reasonable Accommodations
Employers on Long Island are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. Reasonable accommodation should be tailored to the specific needs of the employee. Examples of reasonable accommodations might include but certainly are not limited to the following:
- Provider a reader for an employee who is blind;
- Providing a sign language interpreter for an employee who is hearing impaired;
- Make the workplace wheelchair accessible;
- Providing reserved parking for the employee;
- Altering the format of training materials;
- Adjusting workplace equipment; or
- Allowing the employee to have a flexible work schedule.
Contact our Disability Discrimination Lawyers in Long Island Lawyer Today
When you are experiencing disability discrimination in the workplace or your employer refuses to provide you with a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, you should know that one of our experienced Long Island disability discrimination attorneys can assist you. You have rights under state and federal law, and we can help to ensure that your workplace is a safe and healthy one that is compliant with federal and state laws concerning disability protections. Contact Ricotta & Marks, PC or call our firm today at 347-464-8694.