How to Handle Disability Discrimination in the Workplace
While the modern business climate is progressing, there is still some discrimination in the workplace. One group that is continually discriminated against is the disabled. If you’ve been facing disability discrimination, you need to take action right away.
Understand your Rights
The first step to taking action when facing disability discrimination is to understand your rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was created to protect every applicant or employee with a disability from any form of discrimination in the employment process – from hiring to benefits to termination. Some states and municipalities even have laws furthering ADA benefits for the disabled, as the ADA only applies to companies with 15 employees or more.
Inform your Employer
Once you understand your rights and believe you’re being discriminated against by your employer due to your disability – you need to inform your employer of the belief. Many times employers will not know your rights, even though they want to do the right thing. This could mean outfitting a company vehicle for drivers in wheelchairs or making any reasonable accommodation necessary to allow you to complete the tasks at hand.
File a Complaint with the Company
If you’ve brought your complaints to a superior’s attention, but nothing has been done – you’ll want to move above this individual and file a formal internal complaint. This is the final step before you will claim discrimination. Your employer will then have to decide if they can correct the problem or potentially face you in court. Filing an internal discrimination claim is the first step in legally claiming disability discrimination. Your disability discrimination lawyer will want you to do so.
If your employer chooses not to handle the matter to your satisfaction, you’ll want to file a claim of disability discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or your state’s agency that handles discrimination claims. This is an absolute must before your disability lawyer can sue the company in court. If you don’t file a charge with the EEOC, most judges will just throw your case out immediately. After you file a charge, your agency will then process the claim and conduct an investigation. After, you may receive a “right-to-sue” letter. The agency may also litigate the claim on its own, but this is quite rare. Generally our disability discrimination lawyers like to help our clients draft their charges of discrimination with the EEOC to make sure all your claims are covered.
File a Lawsuit
The final step in a disability discrimination case is actually filing a lawsuit. Once you have your hands on a “right-to-sue” letter, a great disability discrimination lawyer can file your lawsuit. An experienced disability discrimination lawyer will help you decide if your case is strong and whether you should sue or not or bring a charge of discrimination with the EEOC or not. As with any discrimination case, there is a mountain of paperwork your lawyer will have to handle.