Your disability is something you cannot help. It is a part of you that should not be affecting your professional life. Sadly enough, you may have found that you are being treated differently at work because of it.
When you have a disability, life can be significantly more of a challenge in many ways. There are a number of obstacles that you face everyday, simply because the world, as a whole, is not always accommodating to your disability. You have worked hard to get where you are today, in spite of your challenges, but it now seems that a door is being shut to you. For some reason, you are being denied access to fulfilling employment—an opportunity that everyone should have, with no exceptions.
We love our city. Cincinnati has changed drastically over the recent years, and most of these changes have been for the better. Located on Vine Street, right in the heart of the city, we have been fortunate enough to see its evolution. Unfortunately, not all parts of our city have evolved as they should have. Not all of our city’s employers appreciate the skills and talents of workers with disabilities, nor do they recognize how they strengthen the workforce.
Some employers claim to foster a diverse workforce by recruiting and hiring persons with disabilities. Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati’s largest employer, is one such company. They advocate for the personal and professional development of people with disabilities by connecting their employees with internal and external support systems, networks, and organizations. They have developed career opportunities specifically for disabled workers.
As an employment law firm in Cincinnati, we are happy to hear that our local companies and corporations are making serious efforts to break down the barriers that exist currently to many physically or mentally challenged—yet perfectly capable—individuals. After all, they are just as hard of workers and they bring just as much value as anyone else. They—you—are a vital component to our workforce. But not all companies have made such efforts, and many have made the opposite effort, trying to bar disabled workers from entrance into their companies. Even businesses that claim to be disability-friendly are simply not.
At Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A., we have seen firsthand the injustices that face people in the workplace. We have successfully settled or litigated countless cases of discrimination in the Cincinnati workforce. Sadly, a large portion of these cases is based on a person’s disability; this is unacceptable. We demand justice for our clients who have been treated unfairly on these grounds, and we will do everything in our power to make sure that it is delivered.
What are my rights?
Oftentimes, we as citizens forget about our rights that are protected by law. It is important for you to know that you are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (or ADA). This act prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies, and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of disability. The Rehabilitation Act provides the same protection but on the federal level (federal agencies, jobs, federally-funded programs, etc).
However, not all employers are bound by these laws. If your workplace has fewer than fifteen employees, you may not be protected under the ADA. However, regardless of the size of the workplace, it is crucial that you seek legal counsel if you truly believe that you or a loved one has suffered from this injustice. Contact the disability discrimination lawyers at Robert A. Klingler Co., L.P.A. to find out what your rights are.
There are many types of conduct that constitute this kind of discrimination. Just as sexual harassment is not tolerated in the workplace, neither is the harassment of a worker on the basis of a real or perceived disability. In our nearly 30 years of practice in the area of employment law, we have noticed that disability discrimination often comes to light in the hiring process. For instance, employers cannot ask applicants about current or past medical conditions, nor can they require that they take a medical examination before offering them a job.
This is where it can get confusing, though. An employer can offer you a job, contingent on whether or not you pass a medical or physical exam. This exam, however, must have been required of all other employees for that particular job category and must be job-related. But again, it gets confusing: if the exam reveals that you have a disability, an employer cannot refuse to hire you based solely on this information if you can perform the main duties of the job with reasonable accommodation. Under the ADA, an employer is required to make accommodations for you if they do not impose too much of a burden on the company.
What are some examples of “reasonable accommodation”?
As mentioned before, an employer is required to provide reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities. Such measures are considered reasonable if they do not require a “significant difficulty or expense.” For example, if you have diabetes and you require frequent and regular food breaks to keep your blood sugar and insulin levels where they need to be, your employer is required to accommodate this need of yours. An employer might need to make changes to the facility so that a physically handicapped employee can easily get around. Also, existing equipment may need to be modified or new equipment may need to be purchased. Bigger companies that have more money to spend may be expected to make more accommodations than a smaller company.
As you can see, there are many little details that must be taken into consideration with every disability discrimination case. If you believe that you may have a claim on these grounds, it is best that you get legal help. Our dedicated Cincinnati team can help you. You are going through a lot right now. Maybe you are coming up against a wall in your search for employment; maybe you have been in an accident and are afraid that you might lose your job due to a drastic change in your physical capabilities; or maybe your employer is refusing to accommodate you and your unique physical or mental needs. Our clients’ needs are our priority. Call us today to find out if we can help you, and if we can, we will.