5 Ways Employers May Discriminate Under the ADA: Know Your Rights

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a critical legislation that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs. Despite its clear guidelines, some employers may inadvertently or deliberately engage in practices that discriminate against disabled employees or job applicants. Understanding these discriminatory practices is essential for workers who need to defend their rights.

  1. Illegal Medical Inquiries and Examinations During Hiring

Before extending a job offer, employers are not permitted to ask about medical conditions or disabilities. Only after making a job offer contingent on passing a medical exam can they inquire about disabilities. Importantly, this medical exam must be a standard requirement for all employees entering the same job category. Asking prohibited medical questions or requiring medical examinations at the wrong stage of the hiring process violates the ADA.

  1. Denying Employment to Qualified Applicants with Disabilities

Employers must hire qualified applicants with disabilities, even if accommodations are needed for them to perform their job. Refusing to hire a qualified applicant because of their disability is a direct violation of the ADA. This includes situations where employers may assume, without evidence, that a disability would interfere with job performance.

  1. Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodations

Once an employer is aware of an employee’s disability, they are obligated to provide reasonable accommodations. These are adjustments or modifications to the work environment or job function that enable an employee with a disability to perform essential job duties. Failing to provide such accommodations, when feasible, constitutes discrimination under the ADA.

  1. Discrimination in Job Assignments, Promotions, and Employment Decisions

Employees with disabilities should not face discrimination in job assignments, promotions, or other employment-related decisions. This means that all employees, regardless of disability, should have equal opportunities for advancement and varied job assignments. Discriminatory practices in these areas undermine the principles of equal employment opportunity.

  1. Harassment Based on Disability

Harassment of employees because of their disability is prohibited under the ADA. This includes offensive jokes, comments, gestures, or any form of physical or verbal threat that creates a hostile work environment. Employers are responsible for preventing and addressing harassment in the workplace.

Examples of Discrimination under the ADA

Understanding specific instances can help identify discrimination. Examples include refusing to hire a qualified applicant who uses a wheelchair because the workplace lacks accessibility, not providing a sign language interpreter for an employee who requests one, assigning employees with disabilities to less desirable positions than their non-disabled colleagues, denying promotions due to disability, or making offensive jokes about an employee’s disability.

Discrimination under the ADA, whether in hiring or working conditions, is not only illegal but also undermines the values of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. If you suspect that you are being discriminated against under the ADA, it’s important to take action. You can file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or contact an employment lawyer. Carla D. Aikens, P.L.C., is committed to helping workers defend their rights. We’re passionate about achieving results. If you believe you’re facing discrimination under the ADA, schedule a consultation with us by calling (844) 835-2993. Let’s ensure your rights are protected and you are treated fairly.

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