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Sterling Employment Law

Understanding disability discrimination-Part I

All employees in the United States should be treated equally in the eyes of the law. However, workplace discrimination still persists, and it is not uncommon for a Michigan employee to face workplace discrimination. Any employee or job applicant who is not treated fairly because of a disability has the right to file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Disability discrimination occurs when a qualified individual who is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act is treated unfairly because of a disability. Disability discrimination also occurs when an employee who is covered by the ADA is not treated favorably because that person has a family history of disability. An example of that is treating a person badly because there is a history of cancer in the person's family. If an employer believes that a person may have a mental or physical impairment, even if it is not transitory, that is considered disability discrimination.

According to the law, an employer is also supposed to give an employee reasonable accommodation if that person has a disability. The only time when the employer may be granted an exception is if it causes significant expenses to the company. If an employee has a relationship with a person with a disability, although that person does not have a handicap and an organization discriminates against that person, it is considered illegal. For example, an employer cannot discriminate against a woman because her husband has a disability.

Disability discrimination encompasses all aspects of employment, such as hiring an employee, job assignments, pay, training, layoff and other terms of employment. It is also illegal to harass a job applicant on the basis of that person's disability.

Source: EEOC.gov, Disability Discrimination, Accessed on Aug. 10, 2015

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