Disabled Doesn't Mean Unable
The perception that a person with a disability is somehow unable to do the same work as someone who is “able bodied” is incorrect. With the proper equipment and a reasonable accommodation, a disabled person can often perform the same work as anyone else. Frequently, companies choose not to hire disabled workers because they will have to make those accommodations, or if a person becomes disabled while working for an employer, that employer may choose not to cooperate in making the necessary adjustments for that individual to continue working.
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At Ricotta & Marks, P.C., we represent employees in a broad spectrum of legal matters, including:
Wage & Hour Disputes
At Ricotta & Marks, P.C., employment law is our sole focus. We have represented teachers facing a broad spectrum of legal issues and we are committed to protecting teachers’ rights. To learn more, please do not hesitate to contact us and schedule a free initial and confidential consultation at our Queens or Long Island offices today.
Sometimes these “Jekyll and Hyde” switches occur because a superior learned something about a subordinate that then caused him or her to have a negative bias, like the employee was of a certain religion or sexual orientation. Sometimes the reason is more obvious, like a bias against people of a certain race, being male or female, a woman becoming pregnant or people with disabilities.
Other Employment Law Issues
Protections for Queens
Protections for Queens
Protections for Queens Workers
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, and it applies to many workplaces. Under Title I of the ADA, any employer with 15 or more employees is required to adhere to the ADA and its worker protections. The ADA specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability in the job processes of recruitment, hiring, promotion, training, pay, social activities, firing, lay offs, leaves, and any other privileges or job-related duties or actions that come with employment.
The ADA defines a person with a disability as “a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.” Many different impairments are covered by the ADA, and the federal law does not specifically list all covered impairments.
To be clear, if an employer offers certain incentives to employees or training opportunities, those same incentives or opportunities must be available to an employee with a physical or mental disability. Similarly, if an employer is taking job applications and is hiring for a position, the employer cannot consider a person’s disability in the hiring process, including the potential for needing to make reasonable accommodations.
Employers Cannot Require Medical Examinations or Ask Questions About a Disability
In situations where a job applicant may have a visible disability, the employer is prohibited from asking questions about the nature or severity of the disability. However, an employer can ask if a job applicant if she or he is able to perform job duties with or without a reasonable accommodation, and the employer can ask a job applicant to describe or show how she or he will perform the duties of the job, either with or without a reasonable accommodation.
Once a person has been hired, an employer cannot require that employee to undergo a medical examination or inquire about a disability unless it is specifically related to the job and is “necessary for the conduct of [the] employer’s business,” according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
What is a Reasonable Accommodation Under the ADA?
The law requires that an employer make reasonable accommodation for any employee or job applicant with a disability. This can be as simple as rearranging the furniture to allow free movement of a wheelchair or as complicated as purchasing special equipment to facilitate doing the job correctly and efficiently.
Many companies don’t want to go to the trouble and expense of doing this. If you feel that you have been unfairly denied the ability to do your job, or if you have been passed over for employment because of your disability, you can fight for your rights, and we will help.
The EEOC provides guidance on reasonable accommodations in the workplace. According to the EEOC, a reasonable accommodation is “any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities.” Under federal and state law, an employer must make reasonable accommodations unless the employer is able to show that the accommodation would constitute an “undue hardship.” Typically, according to the EEOC, an undue hardship is defined as something that “would require significant difficulty or expense.”
Our attorneys will take the time to listen to your story and help you build a case if you have been discriminated against. We will file the paperwork with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), negotiate with your employer and aggressively defend your right to right to accommodation for your disability.