Philadelphia Discrimination Lawyers
- What disabilities does the law protect?
- What are my legal rights?
- Must my employer accommodate my disability?
- Can an employer refuse to hire me because of my disability?
- Can I quit my job because of disability discrimination?
- What to do if you believe you have been unlawfully treated?
- You have to act promptly.
Working people are protected against discrimination and harassment on the basis of actual or perceived disability. We have represented many disabled people in achieving compensation and job protection when they have been treated unlawfully. Employment lawyers at Galfand Berger are here to help you and protect you from disability discrimination and harassment.
You are considered disabled if you have a condition which limits one or more major life activities. This means that you have a condition or a disability which makes it difficult to engage in a major life activity such as breathing, seeing, walking, caring for yourself, working, social activities, reading, eating, digesting, hearing, speaking or any other activity which is essential to your daily living.
Disabilities can be physical or mental, such as developmental disorders, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness or specific learning disabilities, which limits a major life activity. This could be the result of disabilities that are apparent such as being in a wheelchair, using a cane, being disfigured, having an amputation or they could be more subtle as a heart problem, breathing difficulties, depression, anxiety difficulties and any other disorders which affects your daily life activity. To be considered a disabling condition a disability or limitation must be, or be perceived, as a long-standing or permanent (an exception are pregnancy-related disabilities, which are covered under a separate law.)
If you suffer from a temporary disability, you may be entitled to a leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); therefore, if your claim does not meet the criteria for disability discrimination, you might still have protection under the FMLA.
If you are otherwise qualified for your job and can — by education, training, etc. — perform the essential job functions with or without an accommodation, you must be treated equally with all other applicants and employees. The essential job functions are those core job functions, which the position requires.
An accommodation may be some tool, device, equipment, assistance, and/or modification of a non-essential job function to make it possible, or easier, for a disabled person to perform essential job function. Employers have an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation. They don’t have to provide the accommodation preferred by an employee and they only have to provide accommodations that will not create undue hardship on the economic end or working place functions of the employer. When determining whether an accommodation is reasonable or places an undue hardship on an employer, the courts will take into account the size and economic capacity of the employer as well as the costs, expense and disruption associated with the accommodation. Most of the accommodations cost less than $100 and should provide no hardships to an employer.
The law requires that once an employer is made aware of an employee’s disability and/or any workplace difficulties associated with the disability, the employer and the employee have a duty to engage in a good faith discussion of potential accommodations. An employer who fails to engage in good faith interactive process is in violation of a law that may be subject to damages for their violation of the law.
Employers cannot discriminate against potential employees on the basis of disability. They may not ask as part of the pre-employment interview or questionnaire if you are disabled. An employer who has determined that you are qualified, who has offered you a position, may then inquire as to what, if any, accommodations you might require.
It is unlawful to retaliate against you if you have requested an accommodation. If you feel that you have been retaliated against, document that in writing and send the complaint to your management and human resources department.
You can quit if conditions are intolerable. The law recognizes that sometimes conditions get so bad that people have no reasonable alternative but to quit their employment rather than endure or continue unlawful conduct. An employee cannot just quit and sue because of a single incident. The conditions must be of such severity and frequency that a reasonable person thinks they have no alternative and they were in affect “constructively discharged.” You should first report the condition through your company complaint procedure where possible before you quit or your rights to recover damages could be lost.
Many companies have policies regarding any discrimination, harassment or retaliation in their company handbook. Likewise, they may have reporting requirements, which may require you to follow a certain procedure. You should request the company to take action to stop and correct discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. You should follow those procedures and document your actions in writing. Failure to follow those procedures may lead to a denial of your rights to recover legal damages for the improper action of the company.
There is a limited time in which you can bring a claim for discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. You must file your claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under Title VII of the Civil Rights within 180 days of the last act of discrimination and/or the same holds true for filing a state claim with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). However, if you file a claim with the PHRC within 180 days of the last act of discrimination or harassment, you can file a claim with the EEOC within 300 days of the last act of discrimination or harassment.
If you believe that you have a claim for discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, our Philadelphia disability discrimination lawyers can help. Please call our office at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online for a free case evaluation by an experienced employment lawyer and assistance in filing your claim.