October Marks National Disability Employment Awareness Month

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2023 | Employment Law

Employers, schools, and organizations of any size are always encouraged to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This campaign is nationally recognized, and it is a campaign that is used to raise awareness about common and uncommon disability employment issues that many people face on a daily basis.

This month is also used to recognize and celebrate the contributions of so many who have made an impact for numerous American workers who have disabilities. There is a wealth of great talent out there, but many people with disabilities are hesitant to apply for certain jobs because of everything that has happened.

While many people may automatically attribute disabilities to accidents, many people are now living with disabilities due to an illness. Some common contributors include the following:

  • Carpal tunnel
  • Back pain
  • Depression
  • Macular degeneration
  • Chronic illness
  • Anxiety

According to the Equality Act, a person is classified as disabled if he or she has a physical impairment or a mental impairment that is long-term. The impairment has a profound impact on one’s ability to do even the most basic tasks. American workers who are unexpectedly diagnosed with a disability are at a significant risk of losing their jobs or being denied a job due to the disability.

Workplace Inclusivity

How can an environment be created that will include everyone? How can an environment be created that will make individuals with disabilities feel comfortable in their space? It will take more than installing wheelchair ramps or chair lifts in the work environment. It is important to ensure that everyone has an equal chance at the employment opportunities that are made available.

An inclusive work environment can also be created by acknowledging there may be a need to discuss work absences as it relates to one’s disability. Some individuals may become ill more than others, and some individuals may need to take days off to attend medical appointments and/or undergo treatments. It is important to be open and honest with employees. It is also important to be willing to listen to their needs and concerns.

What is Disability Discrimination?

As we all know, disability discrimination can come in a variety of forms, including the following:

  • Harassment
  • Indirect or direct abuse
  • Victimization

If anyone is treated less than a human being, or if an individual notices that someone is being treated unfairly due to a disability, it is important to speak up and speak out.

Facing Discrimination in the Workplace

Federal laws and state laws forbid discrimination against individuals based on their disabilities, or the disabilities they are assumed to have. The ADA(Americans with Disabilities Act) and the Rehabilitation Act offer the protection disabled employees need. If an individual can perform the key functions of the job, even if some accommodations need to be made, both acts will offer protection under federal law.

What can be considered reasonable accommodations? A reasonable accommodation can include the measures that many people think of as soon as accommodations become a topic of discussion, including ramps for those who rely on a wheelchair. However, reasonable accommodations can also include the following:

  • Adjustments to work schedules
  • Individualized training
  • Adjustments to work activities

If the accommodations an individual needs will need lead to financial strains or undue hardship, the employee should be able to have the adjustments made for them. If anyone has been fired because of an accommodation request, your career and your life can be restored by federal law.

How Is the ADA Different from the Rehabilitation Act?

The American with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act may be similar in many ways, but they are not the same when it comes to employers. Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act bars federal executives branch agencies from discriminating against potential employees who have a disability.

The American with Disabilities Act provides protection for potential non-federal employees. If an individual has been discriminated against in a federal workplace, he or she will not have as much time to file a complaint when compared to one who has been discriminated against in a non-federal workplace.

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act offers protection for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. Title I prohibits employers with at least 15 employees from partaking in any type of disability discrimination, such as

  • Discrimination during the hiring process
  • Discrimination during training
  • Discrimination when it comes to receiving promotions

If you have any type of disability, it is important to have a clear understanding of your rights. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly as a job applicant or an employee, you need the counsel an experienced legal team. At Villaume & Schiek, we take discrimination very seriously. We understand how impactful discrimination can be to one’s livelihood and wellbeing.

No one deserves to be treated unfairly in any setting. Employers should do what is right to make sure they are not doing anything to violate one’s legal rights. If you would like to consult with our team, please do not hesitate to request a free consultation. During your consultation, we will offer the following:

  • An understanding of the law and discrimination
  • A support system
  • A thorough look at all the facts you present
  • An assessment of your potential case

There are many people who have found themselves in the same position you are in, and we have been able to help so many people who have been refused a job, fired, or punished as a result of their disability. If we are able to offer you the help you need, we will make recommendations on the next steps we can make. While October is National Disability Awareness Month, we stand up for justice 24/7/365. We are ready to stand with you as you fight against those who have discriminated against you.

If you believe you have been discriminated against based on your disability, we will fight endlessly to protect your rights, your livelihood, and your best interests. Schedule your consultation today by calling us today at 952-641-7734 or by submitting the internet form.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.