February 8th, 2013

A Minnesota man recently settled a claim alleging that U.S. Bank handled his mortgage loan request in a discriminatory manner. A spokesperson for U.S. Bank says the company denies the existence of disability discrimination but agreed to settle the complaint and pay the man $12,000.

U.S. Bank allegedly required the man to provide proof of his disability income benefits before approving his mortgage loan. The lender allegedly wanted assurance that the man would continue receiving disability-related income for the next three years.

However, such behavior is typically prohibited by the Fair Housing Act. Under that federal law, it is illegal to discriminate in the terms and conditions of a loan based on a person’s disability. For example, lenders may not impose different loan application or qualification criteria on disabled applicants.

This post illustrates the many difficulties that disabled Minnesotans may face in their daily interactions, whether in the context of the workplace or a loan request. Yet federal law requires disabled workers to be treated fairly in the workplace. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a business with 15 or more employees may be required to make reasonable accommodations to disabled workers. Examples of reasonable accommodations may include modifying the employee’s work schedule, making facilities accessible to the disabled, and modifying tests and training materials.

In addition, the definition of “disability” has expanded in recent years, offering workers more protections. Previously, a person might not have qualified for protection under the ADA if a treatment, medical device, or other measure — such as medication or a hearing aid — allowed the person to perform a major life activity with little or no difficulty. Now, because of amendments to the ADA in 2008, a person may still qualify for benefits even if he or she receives such “mitigating measures.”

If you are disabled and your employer has refused to make any accommodations in your workplace to assist you in performing your job duties, you may be the victim of disability discrimination. If that’s the case, don’t delay in consulting with an attorney, because the law limits the time in which you may file with the EEOC after the unlawful treatment. An attorney can help protect your rights.

Source: kare11.com, “MN-based US Bank settles discrimination complaint,” Jan. 23, 2013.

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