Disability Discrimination lawyers
The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm have experience representing employees who have been discriminated against because of their disabilities. Our attorneys are licensed in many states and jurisdictions and routinely handle cases in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against an employee because of the employee's disability.
Under the ADA, an employee is disabled if the employee has or is perceived to have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as walking, hearing, sitting, standing, and breathing. In addition, the ADA protects employees who are "regarded as" disabled. The ADA protects "qualified individuals," i.e., employees who can perform the essential functions of a job with or without reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations may include:
Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;
Modifying work schedules;
Adjusting or modifying equipment, examinations or training material; or
Providing qualified readers or interpreters.
The ADA requires an employer to make such reasonable accommodations for disabled employees unless doing so would impose an undue hardship.
Disability Discrimination claims
under the ADA Amendments Act of 2008
The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 ("ADAAA") which goes into effect on January 1, 2009, strengthens the ADA by eliminating loopholes created by various court decisions and broadens the scope of protection. In particular, the ADAAA amends the ADA as follows:
Expands the phrase "major life activity" to include major bodily functions such as functions of the nervous, urinary and circulatory systems;
Clarifies that an employee asserting that she was discriminated against because she was "regarded as" disabled need only prove that she was discriminated against because of an actual or perceived impairment;
Removes the effects of mitigating measures in determining whether an individual has a disability; and
Clarifies that an impairment that is episodic or in remission is an ADA disability if it limits a major life activity when the impairment is active.
What can a prevailing employee recover?
A prevailing employee can recover back pay, compensatory damages, and attorney fees. In addition, punitive damages are available if an employee demonstrates that his employer engaged in a discriminatory practice with malice or reckless indifference to the employee's federally protected rights.
What should an employee facing disability discrimination do?
If you or somone you know is facing discrimination or retaliation in the workplace on account of a disability, you should consider contacting a lawyer to discuss your rights and how best to proceed.
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