Workplace disability discrimination occurs when your employer treats you differently because you have a disability – or even if your employer believes you have a disability or associates you with someone else who does.
If you have a disability, you have certain legal rights in the workplace under both federal and Maine laws. You have the right not to be discriminated against because of your disability in various workplace actions and decisions. These include hiring, pay, benefits, promotions, and access to training. You also have the right to receive reasonable accommodations for your disability.
Examples of Disability Discrimination:
Employers, managers, and supervisors may be unlawfully discriminating against you if they:
- Ask you during a job interview if you have a disability or require you to take a medical exam before offering you a job
- Harass you by making offensive comments about your disability
- Failure to provide a reasonable accommodation if you request one when doing so would not be an undue hardship for your employer. Examples of these failures may include:
- Refusing to provide equipment that would enable an employee with visual impairments to use a computer
- Requiring an employee who uses a wheelchair to work in an area that is not wheelchair accessible
- Not allowing an employee to take leave for treatments related to their disability
Why You Should Be Aware of Workplace Disability Discrimination
Some employers try to do the right thing and follow the laws prohibiting disability discrimination, but others do not. The first step in protecting yourself is to become more aware of your legal rights, so you’ll be better able to tell if your employer is violating the anti-discrimination laws. Then, if you think you may be experiencing workplace disability discrimination, there are steps you can take to protect your rights.
What You Can Do If You Think You’re Being Treated Unfairly Because of Your Disability
First, inform your supervisor or the HR department about the problem. If the discrimination persists, you can file a formal complaint with the state, preferably with the assistance of a disability discrimination attorney. If the state investigators find it in your favor, you and your employer can try to reach a settlement agreement. If that doesn’t work, you can sue your employer in court.
Before you take any action, though, you might want to talk to a knowledgeable discrimination lawyer. A lawyer can help you determine if your employer is unlawfully discriminating against you and, if so, if you have a good case for filing a complaint. A lawyer can also help you throughout the process of filing the complaint with the state so you have the best chance of getting a favorable decision. And, if you end up suing your employer in court, you’ll want an experienced attorney to represent you.
The employment discrimination lawyers at Garmey Law in Portland, Maine, would be glad to talk to you if you think your employer treats you unfairly because of your disability. Call us at (207) 481-4683 or contact us through our website today.