Daily life can be more difficult when you have a significant, disabling medical condition. Whether you depend on a wheelchair to get around or have limitations on what physical tasks you can perform, a medical condition that affects your job can limit your opportunities.
In theory, federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect you from discrimination related to your medical condition. Unfortunately, it is common for people with disabilities to face discrimination from both current and prospective employers. What are some of the most common forms of disability discrimination?
Overt discrimination in hiring, firing or promotions
Many people with visible disabilities have experienced the loss of a job opportunity when a company learns about their medical condition. If you had a job offer that suddenly evaporated after you showed up with crutches or a wheelchair, discrimination based on your disability is likely to blame.
Some businesses will hire workers with disabling medical conditions but will quickly let them go if they request accommodations. Businesses sometimes might never consider disabled people for promotions.
A refusal of reasonable accommodations
One of the most important rules in the ADA is the requirement for companies to provide reasonable accommodations for workers who need a little support to perform their jobs with a medical condition.
Unfortunately, some businesses will refuse to provide accommodations or will retaliate against workers who request them.
Harassment or abuse from co-workers and management
Does the person from human resources make a pointed glance in your direction when talking to the entire office about the rising costs of their pooled health care? Have your co-workers given you a humiliating nickname based on your physical disability and refused to stop using it despite your request? Does management ignore this kind of misconduct or tacitly encourage it?
Companies should not allow workers to abuse or belittle their co-workers with disabling medical conditions. If your employer does not actively protect you against discrimination and harassment while simultaneously supporting you through reasonable accommodations, they may have engaged in disability discrimination.
Recognizing and fighting back against workplace discrimination can protect you and people who might work at the company in the future.