Disability Discrimination In The Workplace


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What Can I Do If I Experience Discrimination

What is Disability Discrimination in the Workplace?

You may want to deal with the situation yourself by raising it directly with the person or people involved or with a supervisor, manager or discrimination/harassment contact officer.

Making a complaint to the Commission

If this does not resolve the situation, or you do not feel comfortable doing this, you can make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission. You can also have someone such as a solicitor, advocate or trade union make a complaint on your behalf.

It does not cost anything to make a complaint to the Commission.

Your complaint needs to be put in writing. The Commission has a complaint form that you can fill in and post or fax to us or you can lodge a complaint online at our website. If you are not able to put your complaint in writing, we can help you with this.

The complaint should say what happened, when and where it happened and who was involved.

A complaint can be made in any language. If you need a translator or interpreter, the Commission can arrange this for you.

What Are Some Common Workplace Changes That Can Be Made For People With Disabilities

Some common types of workplace changes include making facilities used by employees accessible providing readers or sign language interpreters obtaining special equipment or modifying existing equipment changing work schedules permitting the use of leave for treatment, recuperation or therapy and modifying company exams, training materials or policies.

These are only a few examples, but there are many other types of changes that an employer may have to provide. If you need help identifying the workplace change that you need, contact the Job Accommodation Network, a free service that helps identify workplace changes for people with disabilities.

Contact An Employment Law Attorney In Norman Oklahoma Today

At Worden & Carbitcher, our employment law lawyer based in Norman, Oklahoma understands how you must feel if you have suffered disability discrimination in Oklahoma. We will take responsible, comprehensive legal action against your employer to make sure your rights are protected. Contact us by filling out the online form or calling us at 405-360-8036 to schedule a free initial consultation and to learn more about the recourse you can take.

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Harassment Because Of Disability

It is disability discrimination if someone is harassing you because of your disability. You may be able to take action about this.

Someone is harassing you if you find their behaviour towards you offensive, frightening, degrading, humiliating or in any way distressing. Examples of harassment could involve nicknames, teasing, name-calling, pulling faces, jokes, pranks or any other behaviour which you find upsetting because of your disability. Even if this behaviour is not deliberately meant to hurt you, it may still count as discrimination if you find it upsetting.

It can still be harassment, even if the person harassing you knows you don’t have a disability.

Here is an example of harassment because of disability:

A boy with multiple sclerosis feels that he is being harassed by his scout leader, who constantly asks him if he is feeling alright – even though his parents have asked him not to do this in front of the other boys.

Even though the scout leader might think he is being kind and has no intention of hurting or humiliating him, this could still count as harassment if the boy finds it distressing.

For more information about harassment, see Harassment.

Explanation Of Job Design In The Criminal Justice Agencies And How Such Agencies Use The Americans With Disabilities Act In Making Accommodation For Disabled Employees

California Employment Law: Disability Discrimination

The ADA provides American employers with a flexible framework that enables them to avail sensible accommodation to individuals with a disability. Such accommodation is necessary for the improvement of the abilities of handicapped people. Handicapped individuals necessitate the need for special building designs that encompass a multitude of features to allow free movement within the structures .

The law requires organizations to increase the accessibility of facilities to improve the convenience of disabled people. For instance, the Act holds that modern constructions should have wheelchair pathways and elevators to ease the mobility of disabled persons. Therefore, the provisions of the Act have become a crucial requirement for both public and private agencies. Consequently, organizations must abide by the mandates that are described in the Act. The Act also offers legal support to individuals who have previously encountered discrimination due to their state of disability. Similarly, the law protects them against future instances of discrimination.

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Disability Discrimination And Employment Decisions

Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or other entity covered by Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Rehabilitation Act treats a qualified employee or applicant unfavorably because of disability. The disability laws forbid discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Failing To Provide Reasonable Accommodations

Under the ADA, your employer actually has a legal responsibility to provide you with reasonable accommodations so that you can do your job. If your company fails to provide these adjustments or modifications, you can sue them for discrimination.

A reasonable accommodation helps you complete your essential job duties. Examples include:

  • Disability tools such as hearing aids or mobility aids
  • The option to relocate your desk to an accessible area
  • Schedule modifications based on your needs
  • Protected leave time for medical treatments and care

When offering accommodations, your employer must take an interactive approach by including you in the process and asking about your needs. Your company doesnt have to provide the exact solution you ask for so long as they offer a similar plan that works.

However, you are responsible for communicating your needs for accommodation the law does not require your employer to guess what you need for you. Your employer must provide accommodation so long as doing so wouldnt be an undue hardship.

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Discrimination Arising From Disability

This type of disability discrimination covers situations in which a person is subject to poor or unfavourable treatment due to something associated with their disability, rather than the disability itself. The issue associated with the disability could be something like absence from work due to ill health, poor eyesight, mobility issues or difficulty paying attention.

To prove discrimination arising from disability, the victim does not have to show that they have been treated less favourably than their colleagues they simply need to demonstrate that they themselves were treated unfavourably no comparison is necessary.

For example, an employee with dyslexia takes longer to complete written reports, due to the issues they have with reading and writing. This results in disciplinary action against the employee, which prevents them being eligible for an annual bonus.

Examples Of Disability Discrimination In Oklahoma

What is disability discrimination? | Equality law: discrimination explained

Disability discrimination can take various forms. Some common examples are described below.

Inaccessible Areas

A disabled employee should have the same access to areas around the office as other, non-disabled employees. An employee in a wheelchair, for example, should be able to maneuver around the same as everyone else and access all areas of the office available to other employees.

When an employer leaves areas inaccessible and, thus, fails to comply with the ADA, disability discrimination exists.

Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodations

If an employee requires an accommodation that would be no hardship on the employer to effectively complete their job, the employer should comply with that accommodation. For example, if an employee is partially deaf and cannot hear well in a noisy environment and requests a workspace in a quieter area, the employer should provide them with a new workspace when possible.

When an employer fails to provide reasonable accommodation, a disability discrimination claim may exist.


A disabled employee’s disability should never be the subject of office jokes or teasing. For example, an employee who is blind should never be made fun of due to their loss of vision.

Jokes, however, do not have to be specific to the employee’s disability but relevant to disabilities in general. If there’s a pattern of jokes or teasing in the office, a hostile work environment is created. As such, the employer may be liable for disability discrimination.

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Should I Tell My Employer That I Have A Disability

If your disability will not affect your ability to apply for a job or to perform your job, you do not have to tell your employer. However, if you think you will need a workplace change to apply for a job or to perform a job, you should tell your employer that you have a disability that requires a workplace change.

Navigating Businesses And Public Spaces With A Disability

Examples of disability discrimination in public spaces

  • A business owner refuses to allow a person with a disability to bring a service animal inside.
  • A person opening a business fails to ensure that any new construction is accessible to people with mobility or sensory disabilities.

Your rights

  • Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it is illegal for businesses open to the public such as stores, hotels, restaurants, museums, theaters, and doctors offices to discriminate against people with disabilities. You have the right not to be excluded from these spaces.
  • The ADA only requires that businesses make architectural changes to their buildings that are readily achievable. Nonetheless, because the ADA has been in effect for 28 years, most businesses and buildings should have made themselves fully accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Newly constructed commercial buildings must be fully accessible.
  • You have the right to bring your service animal into any business, even those that have an explicit no pets policy.

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Establishing A Work Culture That Is Discriminatory

This is a much broader category because there are times when there are no specific instances of actual discrimination, but the entire workplace and method of management have the combined effect of making it difficult to impossible for the individual with disabilities to do their job effectively, or make any progress towards advancement.

Examples include requiring that certain positions be filled by only individuals without disabilities when that requirement has no demonstrated need for this restriction placing able-bodied employees as the forward-facing employees and putting individuals with disabilities out of the public eye.

Can My Employer Discriminate Against Me Because I Have A Past History Of A Disability

Disability Discrimination Archives

No. Your employer may not discriminate against you because you had a disability in the past, even if you no longer have the condition or if the condition does not currently involve any serious limitations. For example, your employer may not refuse to hire you because you have a past history of a mental illness.

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Advocate For Your Employees

Employers should take every step possible to make sure they arent directly or indirectly discriminating against their employees not only because its the right thing to do, but also because not doing so can result in a lawsuit.

If youre looking to hire a dispersed workforce, you should also educate yourself about the labor laws including disability discrimination laws that will protect employees in your chosen locale. To help navigate these laws, consider partnering with us to help hire and manage your team.

Contact us today to see how we can help.

Legal Disclaimer: The information available in this guide does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice and is for general informational purposes only.

You should contact your attorney to obtain legal advice with respect to any particular legal matter. Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained in this guide and your interpretation of it is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the information in this guide are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this guide is provided as is and no representations are made that the content is error-free.


Who Is A Qualified Worker With A Disability

Only qualified workers with disabilities are protected by the ADA. A qualified worker with a disability is someone capable of performing the essential duties of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation by the employer.

The essential duties of the job are those tasks that are fundamental to the position. Ancillary duties don’t count. For example, a call center’s customer service representatives might answer phones, draft correspondence to dissatisfied customers, and resolve customer complaints. If business is slow, the employees might also file or restock office supplies. The customer service tasks are probably essential duties of the job, while the “filler” tasks probably aren’t.

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Types Of Disability Discrimination In The Workplace

  • Direct Discrimination
  • Harassment and Retaliation
  • Failure to Accommodate Reasonable Requests
  • Legal protection exists at both the federal and state levels to protect disabled workers from discrimination in their workplaces. The goal is to help ensure that Americas workplaces are environments within which disabled workers can do their work without being treated inequitably.

    To date, only 17.9% of disabled American adults are employed. Disabled workers have historically faced varying levels of disability discrimination in their places of work. As recently as 2019, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received and resolved 24,238 disability discrimination claims. And keep in mind that this does not include data from the states or local levels.

    Disability discrimination can be hard to eradicate because of its tendency to shape-shift. It can manifest as several different conscious and unconscious behaviors. Disability discrimination is often the result of outdated organizational policies or a long history of homogenous hiring. Its important for employers to be proactive, designing and implementing processes, policies, and procedures that accommodate employees physical or mental disabilities. Not only is it the right thing to do, but its also required by federal law.

    How Businesses Can Be Disability

    What Exactly Is Disability Discrimination | Ask An Employment Lawyer

    Though standing up for oneself is a positive, the burden of making a more disability-friendly workplace shouldnt fall solely on the disability community. Businesses can make their spaces more inclusive in many ways.

    For starters, Yu suggests businesses hire more people with disabilities. And for companies that already have employees with disabilities, she suggests establishing a culture that is built on psychological safety. This means granting them accommodations and allowing them to take time off if they need it.

    You need a combination of both the policy plus the attitudes toward disability to really create systemic change, Yu said.

    When Yu does speaking engagements at companies, she encourages them to hold a mirror to themselves and ask what kinds of ableist beliefs they might have. Recognizing your unconscious ableism is the first step to challenging those biases.

    As disabled people, we are some of the most creative, adaptive and innovative people out there because we have had to learn how to life-hack our way in a world that wasn’t built for us, Yu said.

    Many businesses have recently begun implementing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging programs, which are aimed at making employees who are part of marginalized groups feel included. Hector says if a companys DEIB program is not including people with disabilities, it has missed the boat.

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    Americans With Disabilities Act

    The Americans with Disabilities Act is noteworthy legislation that was ratified to avert discrimination against disabled Americans. The Act was instituted to provide equal opportunities to disabled individuals. In addition, the implementation of the Act was meant for the provision of unbiased access to public accommodation, services, and activities that are managed by government entities.

    However, the implementation of the Act has raised controversial debates amongst the American courts. Whether the Act compliments or infringes the constitutional provisions is a question that has remained unanswered. Nonetheless, there is a need to protect the welfare of handicapped Americans in an attempt to enable them to realize their importance in society. This essay provides an insight into the nature of job design that is applied by criminal justice agencies. It also explains how the agencies use the Act to accommodate disabled persons in American organizations.

    What Are The Types Of Disability Discrimination

    There are four main types of discrimination recognised by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service . Types of general discrimination which apply to all protected characteristics :

    In addition, a further two forms of discrimination also apply to disabilities, which do not apply to other protected characteristics like age, sex or race. Types of discrimination which only apply to disabilities are:

    • Discrimination arising from disability
    • Failure to make reasonable adjustments

    Where an individual can show they have suffered discrimination under one of these areas, they may be able to bring a tribunal claim against the organisation. It is therefore essential that employers, HR professionals and all employees with management and supervisory responsibilities understand what constitutes disability discrimination and what their roles are in providing the required level of support to those with disability in the workplace.

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    If I Have A Disability What Are My Rights At Work

    Examples of disability discrimination in the workplace

    • An employer refuses to hire you, promote you, or pay you equally to your coworkers because of your disability, when you are capable of doing the job.
    • An employer refuses to make reasonable accommodations changes to how a job is done so that you can have an equal chance to succeed at your work.
    • An employer demands that you disclose or talk about your disability when you have not asked for an accommodation.
    • Your boss, coworkers, or customers direct derogatory comments, jokes, or gestures toward you that are related to your disability.

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