Under federal and state law, it is illegal to discriminate against another individual based upon perceived or actual disability in any context of life, from education to housing, employment to accessibility. Under New York law, disability is defined as “a past or present physical or mental impairment that substantially limits or has limited one or more major life activities.”
Disability discrimination in the workplace may be intentional or unintentional by employers such as policies that may be neutral on face value, but in practice inhibit some employees in their functions. If you are a victim of disability discrimination in a New York workplace, you need Brown Kwon & Lam.
Employment Disability Discrimination in New York
It is illegal for employers to discriminate against a qualified employee or applicant based on disability in any aspect of employment. Discrimination can occur in the following ways:
- Job assignments
- Any other terms or conditions of employment
However, there are laws that protect employees and potential employees from such forms of discrimination.
Americans with Disabilities Act
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “private employers with 15 or more employees, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.”
In 2008, the ADA expanded disability coverage to include:
- “An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability.”
- “An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.”
- “The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as (I) medication, medical supplies, equipment … prosthetics … hearing aids and cochlear implants … mobility devices, or oxygen therapy equipment and supplies; (II) use of assistive technology; (III) reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids or services; or (IV) learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications.”
New York State Human Rights Law
Under the disability provisions of the New York State Human Rights Law, New York employers must provide employees with “reasonable accommodations” that allow an employee or prospective employee with a disability to perform the activities involved in the position they are seeking. This may include:
- Accessible worksite
- Modified equipment
- Support services for those who may be hearing or vision impaired
- Job restructuring
- Modified work schedule
In addition, though much of the responsibilities lie on the employer, employees must cooperate in providing medical or other information that is necessary to verify the existence of the disability or pregnancy-related condition, or that is necessary for consideration of the accommodation.
Under the law, such medical information is to be kept confidential. The New York City Human Rights Law encompasses many of the same principles but specifically protects those employees who work in New York City.
Disability Discrimination In The Workplace: Awarded Damages
Disability discrimination can take forms in many ways. Some forms of discrimination are more prevalent than others. Some of the most common forms of disability discrimination in the workplace include:
- Failure to provide adequate accommodations
But when you face these forms of discrimination, you may wonder what you can be awarded in a successful lawsuit. Such damages awarded in disability discrimination cases include:
- Past lost wages
- Future lost wages
- Lost benefits
- Emotional Distress
- Attorneys’ Fees
- Punitive Damages
Disability Discrimination Employment Lawyers
As a New York-based employee, you have a right to a safe and accessible workplace. If you believe that you were a victim of disability discrimination or harassment, contact Brown Kwon & Lam today.