Disability Rights Laws
The Americans With Disabilities Act, more commonly known as the ADA, is a federal law that provides protections to individuals with disabilities. However, your disability must be “covered” or “perceived” meaning that you can verify you have a certain type of disability. Under the Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA), Florida state law—as well as many local laws in certain Florida counties—provides similar protections. These laws apply both to workers as well as to job applicants.
An employee is considered disabled under the ADA if they:
- Have a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits one or more everyday life activities,
- Have a medical record on file of such an impairment, or
- Are regarded by their peers as having an impairment.
Laws such as the ADA also require that employers provide “reasonable accommodations” for people who qualify as disabled. This means that as long as the accommodation isn’t incredibly expensive or difficult to install or incorporate, the company has a responsibility to keep their disabled employees comfortable and safe.
Reasonable accommodations might feature:
- Providing ramps, handrails, and other architectural features that make facilities accessible to people with disabilities
- Providing handicapped parking
- Modifying one’s job’s duties or schedules to better fit their needs
- Obtaining or modifying job-related equipment, devices, examinations, training materials, and/or policies
Which accommodations are needed will vary from disability to disability. For example, a person who uses a wheelchair would need different accommodations compared to a deaf person. Either way, your employer should be helpful when it comes to providing the tools you need to do your job in the space provided. If not, you may be able to file a claim against them.
Examples of Disability Discrimination
Disability discrimination can manifest in a variety of ways. Examples of disability discrimination may include:
- Asking job applicants invasive questions about their past or current medical conditions.
- Requiring job applicants to take medical examinations.
- Building or maintaining a workplace with substantial impediments to the movement of people with physical disabilities.
- Harassing an employee because of their disability.
- Refusing to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with physical or mental disabilities that would better allow them to do their jobs.
- Discriminating on the basis of physical or mental disability in various aspects of employment, including assignments, benefits, firing, hiring, leave, pay, promotions, recruitment, training, and all other employment-related activities.
However, disability discrimination doesn’t always look the same from case to case. If you believe you have been discriminated against based on a disability, write down what happened and save any evidence or records that might corroborate your experience. You can use this to file a complaint and/or to hire a lawyer.
If you have questions about whether you have experienced discrimination or wish to discuss available legal options regarding your specific situation, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are happy to help as much as we can during a free and no-obligation consultation.