Disability Discrimination and ‘Reasonable Accommodations’

Many people in the Washington, D.C. metro area have a disability. Sometimes there is obvious evidence of this disability, such as the use of a cane or wheelchair, but other times there is no visual evidence that a person is disabled. Nevertheless, many disabled individuals are perfectly capable of working. For this reason, employers must be very careful that they do not discriminate against employees based on a disability.

What Constitutes Disability Discrimination?

The Americans with Disability Act contains the laws prohibiting disability discrimination in the workplace. If an employer treats a qualified employee with a disability or a job applicant with a disability unfavorably due to the disability, this may be considered disability discrimination. An employer can also commit disability discrimination if they treat a job applicant or employee differently because they have had a previous disability.

In addition, an employer can commit disability discrimination if they treat an employee differently because they think the employee has a physical or mental impairment that will last six months or fewer or if the impairment is believed to be minor. This is true even if the employee does not actually have an impairment.

Reasonable Accommodations

Under federal law, employers must provide disabled employees or job applicants with reasonable accommodations that will allow the employee to do the job, unless the accommodations would cause “undue hardship” meaning they are significantly difficult or expensive. Some examples of reasonable accommodations include making the workplace wheelchair accessible, providing a blind employee with a reader or providing a deaf employee with an interpreter.

Learn More About Disability Discrimination

Ultimately, this post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s website on disability discrimination may be of use to those who want to learn more about this topic.


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