5 Important Ways to Prove Disability Discrimination
Matthew J.P. Coffman is an experienced employment lawyer and the founder of the employment law firm Coffman Legal, LLC. Matthew provides zealous representation to employees in many types of emplo
In 2020 alone, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) shared that 36.1% of the charges they received were disability discrimination claims. With that in mind, we want to take a look at5 important ways that you and a Columbus ADA disability discrimination attorney can prove disability discrimination when it occurs in your workplace.
Note: The following is not legal advice. It is meant to be general information. Speak with a Columbus ADA disability discrimination attorney for more information regarding your specific situation.
1. You Meet the Definition of Disability as Defined by the ADA
First and foremost, you will want to ensure that you meet the definition of disability as outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA defines a person with a disability as any of the following:
· Having a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities”
· Having a record or history of the physical or mental impairment
· If an individual is perceived by others around them “as having such an impairment”
Thus, individuals are protected from disability discrimination at work if they have a disability, if they have a record or history of a disability, or if they are perceived as having a disability.
2. Keep Documentation of the Disability Discrimination
A key step in proving any kind of discrimination you are facing is making sure to document it. Documenting the discrimination can include:
· Keeping records of all kinds of communication – be it emails, text messages, direct messages, physical notes left on your desk, and others.
· Have a copy of any complaints you have made to HR regarding the situation, your employee handbook, your employment contract, and any workplace guidelines.
· Document the important details of each instance when the discriminatory behavior occurs. This includes date, time, who was involved, any eyewitnesses, and where it happened.
Keeping track of the discrimination and all who are involved can be extremely important in building your case. You will be able to provide a timeline to your disability discrimination attorney to show what happened and to give your side of events.
3. Prove Disability Discrimination During the Hiring Process
Disability discrimination in the workplace can occur even before you are offered or denied a job opportunity.During the hiring process, you can expect to be asked a number of questions that can help an employer determine if you are the best fit for a position – including asking about your ability to perform specific job duties. But under the ADA, there are certain things that an employer cannot ask about or request.
Employers cannot ask about an applicant’s medical history in a job application or during an interview.
Employers can also not require an individual to take a medical exam before the employer makes a job offer. These sorts of questions or requirements during the hiring process can be considered disability discrimination.
4. Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodations
According to the ADA, a reasonable accommodation is any kind of adjustment to a job or the general work environment that will allow an employee or job applicant with a disability to perform their job and partake in the interview process. The accommodations must be considered reasonable for the individual and certain factors like cost and size of the business may be considered when accommodation requests are put in.
Reasonable accommodations are required from employers for “known” disabilities. Typically, the employee or applicant will put in a request for the accommodations needed. Requests are handled on an individual basis since each condition and how it effects an individual will differ greatly.
With that in mind, if an employer does not respond to a reasonable accommodation request, they can potentially be liable for violating the ADA. Employers have an affirmative duty to engage in the interactive process. You can consult with an ADA disability discrimination attorney if your request has been inadequately handled.
5. Prove Retaliation Occurred Based on a Disability Discrimination Claim
Employees are allowed to make complaints with the EEOC if they are facing disability discrimination in the workplace. The EEOC prohibits employers from against employees that make such complaints, as the ability to make a complaint is a “protected activity.”
Retaliation against an employee for making a disability discrimination claim can include:
· Denying earned promotions and benefits
· Verbal or physical harassment
· Making threats
· Transferring an employee to a less desirable position
Proving retaliatory behavior stems from a discrimination claim may hold an employer accountable underneath both the EEOC and the ADA.
These 5 ways to prove ADA disability discrimination in Ohio can be helpful as you move forward with seeking help from an ADA attorney or as you file a disability discrimination claim.
Coffman Legal, LLC is an employment law firm that handles ADA disability discrimination in Ohio for individuals across all industries. With a deep understanding of both state and federal laws that pertain to disability discrimination, the Columbus ADA disability discrimination attorneys at Coffman Legal regularly represent individuals who are facing harassment and discrimination in the workplace. They are dedicated to helping their clients understand their rights and protections and typically work on a contingency fee basis. They offer free and confidential consultations.