Disability Discrimination is Illegal
It is illegal for employers to discriminate against a disabled person who is able to do the job with or without a reasonable accommodation. This is true under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) for all aspects of employment including hiring, firing, compensation, and other terms of employment. These laws also prohibit harassment, creating a hostile work environment or retaliating against an employee for asking for an accommodation.
Employers are Required to Give a Reasonable Accommodation
The ADA and MHRA also require employers to provide disabled employees with what is called a reasonable accommodation to do their jobs as long as providing the accommodation does not cause undue hardship for the employer. A reasonable accommodation may include:
- Providing equipment or devices
- Modifying the work space
- Modifying the work schedule
- Restructuring the job
- Providing for aides on a temporary or periodic basis
- Allowing leave time
If your employer refuses to even discuss what might be a reasonable accommodation, it may be violating the law as well. If you are having trouble getting a needed accommodation an employment attorney will be able to help you work that out with your employer.
Who is Considered Disabled?
Some disabilities are obvious, such as having a vision or hearing impairment or inability to walk. You may also be disabled if you have a chronic health condition or a medical condition that has lasted for a long time and that interferes in some way with your day to day activities. For example, asthma, major depressive disorder, cancer, diabetes, autism, epilepsy, HIF infection and multiple sclerosis may be considered disabilities.
The law defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. If you have a question about whether you are disabled, it is best to consult with an employment attorney who can help make that determination.
What If My Employer Thinks I am Disabled and I’m Not?
It is also illegal for an employer to treat you differently because you have a record of being disabled in the past or because it perceives you as disabled.