What Are Your Employment Rights as Someone with A Disability?

Personal Injury News | January 4, 2022

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), it is highly illegal for an employer to discriminate against employees who have disabilities. New York human rights laws provide additional protections for these employees. 

However, New York employers still commit discriminatory acts while making critical employment decisions, such as hiring, firing, and promoting. If you believe that your employer violated your state and federal rights, you may be eligible for legal action. 

Employee Rights Under the ADA

Under the ADA, it is illegal for most employers to discriminate against employees with disabilities. This federal law applies to the following companies. 

  • All employers with 25 or more employees after July 26, 1992
  • All employers with 15 or more employees after July 26, 1994

Private employers, state and local government agencies, and labor organizations can all face penalties if they practice such discrimination. These entities cannot use disability as a basis for hiring, firing, promotion, or other employment decisions. Harassment of disabled employees is also illegal.

Reasonable Accommodations for Disabled Employees

Under the ADA, employers also have a duty to provide reasonable accommodations to support employees with disabilities fully participating in the workplace. These accommodations help employees navigate the application process, perform the functions of his or her job, and enjoy equal benefits as employees who do not have disabilities. 

Examples of reasonable accommodations include the following:

  • Providing readers or interpreters
  • Assigning employees to modified or part-time schedules
  • Providing equipment and devices to support employees with disabilities
  • Modifying a workplace to make it accessible and usable, such as installing wheelchair ramps
  • Adjusting or modifying training materials, professional exams, and policies to support employees with disabilities

Employers must provide these reasonable accommodations unless they can show that it would cause undue hardship for the company. However, it is the responsibility of the company to prove that the hardship exists—not the employee.

New York Laws for Employees with Disabilities

New York imposes additional laws on disability discrimination, which extend to a larger number of employers than the ADA. The state makes it illegal for all employers, regardless of size, to make any hiring, firing, or employment decisions based on an employee’s disability. These rights extend to all employees as well as independent contractors.

The ADA also has strict laws on what constitutes a disability. For example, any impairments that affect walking, breathing, learning, speaking, seeing, or hearing are usually covered by federal law. New York state covers more impairments, so more people are protected. 

Speak to a New York Employment Attorney

As a person with a disability, you have certain rights when it comes to employment. Knowing these rights can help you protect yourself while at work.  If you believe that your employer violated state or federal laws, you have the right to hold the company accountable. 

You could file a federal claim against your employer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or a state claim with the New York State Division of Human Rights. In certain cases, you could escalate your claim to a lawsuit against your employer in civil court. 

In these situations, you need a lawyer on your side. A Syracuse employment attorney can help you understand whether you qualify for legal action and represent you in claims against your employer. As soon as possible following the incident, contact a lawyer to discuss your case and take your first steps toward justice.