Workers have certain rights under both state and federal law. For example, they have the right to a safe and harassment-free workplace. They also shouldn’t have to worry about discrimination based on certain protected characteristics. Sex, religion, age and race should have no bearing on their employment opportunities.
Medical condition and disability are also protected characteristics that should not influence a company’s decisions about who to employ, how much to pay or who to promote. Disability discrimination sometimes involves companies refusing to hire or offer advancement opportunities to workers with disabling medical conditions.
However, disability discrimination frequently manifests through a company’s refusal to accommodate an existing worker or successful applicant.
What accommodations can workers request?
If an employee or an applicant at a business is capable of performing necessary job functions with certain accommodations recommended in medical documents, then a company should make every effort to help that worker and support them. Unless the requested accommodations would create an undo hardship for the business, a company should do its best to support workers who want to continue their jobs or accept a new position but who require certain forms of support to do so.
Sadly, companies often refuse even basic, reasonable accommodations that would require minimal investment on the part of the business. For example, providing ergonomic support might require a moderate financial investment, but those devices should continue helping a worker for some time.
Adding ramps or wheelchair-accessible bathrooms will be changes that continue to help the company accommodate other employees clients and customers in the future. Modifying a worker’s job responsibilities for allowing them to work from home theoretically wouldn’t cost the company anything at all. Sadly, businesses often refuse even the most basic of accommodations or agree to provide them and fail to do so.
If your employer expects you to continue working without the accommodations you require or if they take steps to push you from your job after you ask for support, you may need to ask for help. Fighting back against disability discrimination can compensate you for the losses you have suffered or can push your employer into complying with your accommodation requests. Learning more about your rights when dealing with disability discrimination will help you continue advancing your career regardless of your medical situation.