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Friday, July 24, 2015

Employment Discrimination Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

What are my rights as a disabled worker?

It used to be the case that employers could discriminate against a potential or current employee due to a disability.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 and various state laws enacted thereafter have outlawed this practice.  

If you are disabled you may qualify for protections under the ADA and similar state laws.  Certain types of long-term disabilities make one eligible for this protection.  Under the ADA a disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity including a major bodily function.”  Those with a history of disability or mistaken by the employer to have a disability are also covered under the act.  If you have a disability and are otherwise qualified for a position, with our without accommodations, you cannot be discriminated against.

An employer is responsible for providing reasonable accommodations for a disabled employee.  This means that the employer must make reasonable changes that allow the worker to do their job.  As an employee, you must disclose your disability to your employer if you are seeking an accommodation.  At that time, the employer is required to inquire as to what accommodations you are seeking and to discuss with you what accommodations would be realistic.  The law encourages that the employer and employee work to compromise on reasonable accommodations.  Therefore, an employer is not required to provide any and all accommodations you request.  Also, accommodations that cause undue hardship to the employer are not required.  There is a separate test under the law for determining undue hardship.

 

In New Jersey, persons suffering from illegal disability discrimination by their employers do not have to jump through the administrative hurdles that are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.  In New Jersey, disability discrimination plaintiff's may file  directly under a different statute, The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination,  in State Superior Court.

Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law, represents employees throughout New Jersey in complex employment discrimination lawsuits. She accepts cases from all counties in Northern, Southern, and Central New Jersey and has locations in central, western and northern New Jersey to meet with clients. If you believe that you have been discriminated against due to gender identity or other protected characteristic, such as age, disability, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or national origin, or in retaliation for reporting what you believed to be illegal acts of your employer,  she can help you. It is important to know your rights as an employee. 

Contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law, today for a free consultation. 


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