Have a Disability? Here Are Your Employment Rights in 2020!

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Have a Disability? Here Are Your Employment Rights in 2020!

One in four Americans in the United States has a disability. Because of this, disability affects everyone including you.

Even if you are not personally disabled, we're sure you know someone that is whether they've shared the information with you or not.

If you have a disability or know someone who has a disability, it is important to understand what a disabled person's rights in the workplace are.

Keep reading to learn how these employment rights came about what these rights are today.

History of Employment Rights

Any sort of discrimination against any person with any kind of disability is strictly prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This includes all types of employers, including state and local governments, labor organizations, labor-management companies, employment agencies, and private employers.

The Americans with Disabilities Act covers all employment practices as well. This includes recruitment, hiring, training, job assignments, promotions, benefits, pay, and firing.

If an employer refuses to abide by the federal law or retaliate against a disabled person for expecting them to meet the lawful standards, there are standards to enforce the regulations.

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces the protocols and safeties put in place by the Americans with Disabilities Act if the employer has 15 or more employees. However, the United States Department of Justice is the group to enforce the standards if the problem involves local government or state government, no matter how big or small the group of employees.

Things to Keep in Mind

You are considered to have a disability if you have a physical and/or mental impairment of some sort that limits your ability. In the case of the Americans for Disabilities Act, this impairment should be limiting what is considered to be a major life activity.

The impairment itself should also be considered substantial. This includes impairments to speaking, hearing, seeing, and walking. This also includes more severe conditions that may even inhibit someone's breathing ability.

The Americans with Disabilities Act also requires that you are able to perform job essentials. For example, if the job requires that you pack boxes onto a shipping truck, you must be able to do this. If you are unable to do this, you are not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act for that job position.

You must also meet the educational requirements for the job to be covered, even if you do have an underlying mental impairment that may prevent you from getting that education.

You should also keep in mind that any individual who is using drugs illegally is not protected under the law. This includes those individuals who are already in detoxification or treatment programs.

Reasonable Accommodation

One of the most important rights outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act is the right to reasonable accommodation. This simply means that your employer should provide room for small changes in the workplace.

For example, an employee that has been diagnosed with narcolepsy may have the reasonable accommodation of having an hour of napping time in the middle of her day.

Small changes like this can make a world of difference for the disabled person as an employee while also keep that employee efficient for working purposes.

If you have a disability, it is within your rights to have a conversation with your employer about what changes you would feel would improve your day and make you a better employee.

Here are some reasonable accommodations that may be covered for your disability:

  • Reassignment to a new position within the company
  • Access to a seating area
  • Interpretation services
  • Flexible working schedules
  • Adjustment of training materials
  • Greater accessibility to working space

The Americans with Disabilities Act does not cover any accommodation that would lead to a great expense or troublesome change.

Medical Exams

Your employer is prohibited from asking you to have a medical examination before offering you a position within their company. However, this is allowed if all potential employees must have a medical exam before being considered for hire.

If you're afraid that the results of your medical examination may take you out of the running for getting the job, you should rest assured that any decision to not hire you due to the medical examination results must be because of a required job trait.

For example, you can be refused the job if the job requires climbing but you are not able to. However, you cannot be refused the job if you are able to climb but you can't run hear well. If this happens to you, you are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Voluntary medical exams can be performed by employers, but the results of these must remain confidential and separate under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

After Discrimination Takes Place

If you believe that you have been discriminated against as an employee, you should contact the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. However, you have to be sure to contact them within 180 days of the incident.

You may have up to 300 days to file the discrimination if your state and/or local governments also protect against this discrimination.

You should also keep in mind that this discrimination can be against a real disability or even a perceived disability. Either way, you are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

You can file a charge against someone who you believe has discriminated against your real or perceived disability by going to your local office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

If those who work your case concludes that discrimination did, in fact, occur in your place of employment due to your real or perceived disability, you may be entitled to a compensation that is meant to make up for or remedy the discrimination that took place.

Make Your Employment Rights Known

Make sure that, if you or a friend have a disability, you are standing up for yourself especially if you believe that you're being discriminated against. The Americans with Disabilities Act is protecting you in your workplace, so know your employment rights and share them.

To read more that you need to know about being a disabled person, feel free to check out our blog.