3 ways disability discrimination manifests in the workplace

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2023 | Disability Discrimination |

Numerous federal rules prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on certain characteristics. There are multiple federal statutes that define the rights of those with disabling medical conditions and make it illegal for employers to consider someone’s medical condition when making determinations about a a job opportunity, for example.

Yet, despite federal protections, many people with disabling medical conditions still endure discrimination in the workplace. Those who recognize how disability discrimination manifests on the job may be in a better position to fight back against a company that has violated their rights.

Unfair hiring or advancement practices

One of the most common and damaging forms of disability discrimination involves organizations that are unwilling to hire or promote those with medically-related limitations. One example might involve a well-educated and competent professional applying for a position that they can absolutely fill based on their educational history and prior employment, but the company retracts the offer after learning of their condition. Other times, workers may find that their condition does not prevent them from getting a job but does keep them from receiving equal consideration for promotions or big projects within the company. When absolutely no one with a disabling medical condition fills an executive role or gets brought in by human resources, those choices could be an example of disability discrimination.

A refusal to provide accommodations

Many workers with disabling medical conditions can fully perform the same job they always have if their employers provide assistive technology or work with them regarding their new medical limitations. When employees can’t get the support they require, they may have few choices other than to leave a job or accept a demotion. The refusal to provide accommodations is discrimination unless a company can show that those accommodations would cause undue hardship.

Unfair disciplinary or review procedures

Perhaps an employee accumulates more absences than the average worker each year because of their medical condition, but they are able to do some of their work from home. Management writing someone up and then terminating them for medically-necessary absences could be one example of a company unfairly disciplining someone because of a health condition. On the other hand, an organization might start returning very negative performance reviews after a worker requests accommodations or experiences a slowdown because of their health concerns. The company might then return multiple negative performance reviews as a way to disguise what may actually be disability discrimination when the company decides to terminate that worker in the future.

Employees who are able to spot the warning signs of disability discrimination may be in a better position to fight back. Holding companies accountable for disability discrimination can lead to compensation for the workers harmed and sometimes also better practices at the offending company in the future.

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