Does a wheelchair ramp prevent disability discrimination claims?

Some employers have much more understanding concerning employees with disabilities than others. If you go to your employer to complain that you are suffering discrimination due to your disability, the response might be, “How can we be guilty of disability discrimination? We spent money on ramps for wheelchairs and everything.”

Wheelchair ramps are not some magical tool that guarantees an employer’s disability friendliness. They are merely one of several requirements the Americans With Disabilities Act says most employers need to meet. Not should meet, or could meet – must meet.

Some employers fail to recognize the full range of disabilities that exist

If you pull into an accessible parking space with a disabled badge on your car, you may have noticed people looking at you. You know what they are thinking. Inside their head, they’re saying, “You don’t look disabled to me.”

Employers, too, can suffer from that oversimplified view of disabilities. If they cannot see it, they think it is all in your head. Indeed it might be if it is a mental, emotional or behavioral disability. Those too can qualify for reasonable accommodations just like more obvious physical disabilities.

What is reasonable accommodation?

Employers need to make reasonable accommodations for anyone with a disability to do their job. Because each person is unique, their requirements will also be unique. Hence you might not be entitled to the same accommodations as someone with a seemingly similar disability to you gets.

If an employer fails to provide you with adequate accommodations, you may be able to claim disability discrimination. These are complex claims, as much depends on what a court considers reasonable. They recognize that companies have financial limitations. If you are unsure, seek legal help to review the situation and evaluate your options.