How to Prove Disability Discrimination

People have a right to secure employment that treats them with dignity, respect, and equal access to opportunities. But this is not always the case for every individual. Discrimination happens and this could occur because of one’s gender, disability, race, or religion, for example. It is not just a right, though, to be treated fairly. This truth is protected under the law.

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal civil rights law whose protections apply to all disabled individuals. It is forbidden, under the terms of the law, to discriminate against disabled people in school, at work, using transportation and telecommunications, and in all other aspects of life. While the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 17.9% of disabled people across the country were employed in 2020, that does not mean that discrimination against these individuals does not happen.

If you suffered discrimination that you believe happened because of your disability, then the Chicago disability discrimination attorneys at North Suburban Legal Services are here for you to review your case and provide you with strategic legal guidance.

How Does The ADA Define People With Disabilities?

According to the ADA, a person can be deemed disabled if they have a physical or mental condition that limits their ability to fully engage in all of the major life activities. Major life activities essentially define everyday practices that people do to function in life and to stay alive. So, eating, sleeping, drinking, being able to see or hear, bathing, and much more could be examples of major life activities.

Additionally, if a person had a prior disability like would be the case for a cancer patient that is in remission, they can be considered disabled. Also, the way a person is perceived by others could allow the individual to be given the classification of disabled. In specific, the ADA itself uses the example of a person that has suffered major scarring after a burn incident.

What Rights Do Disabled People Have?

Through the safeguards of the ADA, people that are disabled have greater access and rights to the same opportunities that all other people have. This includes using their qualifications to be recruited to various jobs and to excel in those positions. To do so, it may mean that an employer would have to make certain accommodations to assist a disabled employee to those opportunities.

The ADA makes it possible that disabled people can make reasonable requests for accommodations and in most cases, employers must honor these appeals for support. The job a person is performing and how their disability affects them will be critical to determine what reasonable accommodation may be. Accommodations that may be asked for could include installing ramps for wheelchairs, having sign language interpreters in a meeting for deaf individuals, making specific parking spots available for the disabled person, or putting grab bars in the company’s bathrooms. These are just some examples.

Because accommodations can be so individualized there is the potential that a business will not be able to offer the provisions. When this happens, it is possible that the business will not be in violation of the ADA for being unable to make the accommodations for the disabled party. In these cases, accommodations that can cause “undue hardships” for the business would not have to be honored by business owners. Typically, if an accommodation would be too costly for a business or if it would be very difficult to manage, then the business may not accommodate. And, they would be in their right not to do so.

Showing Disability Discrimination Took Place

Knowing what a disabled person is, what rights they have to accommodations, and their protections under the ADA, what happens when disability discrimination takes place? If you are the recipient of unfair treatment because of your disability, then it is dependent upon you to make your case and show that discrimination took place.

It is important to lay the groundwork for a disability discrimination claim. The first thing that you must do in a disability discrimination case is to prove that you are disabled. Then, you have to show that the position you are applying for or that you hold is one that you are qualified for regardless of additional accommodations. If you can establish all of these essential details, then you can start collecting evidence to show your side of the story.

You may have been discriminated against if you were unlawfully denied an accommodation that your employer could meet. Or, maybe, you were overlooked for a promotion to a position that you had all of the skills to fulfill because of your disability.

Consider the following types of disability discrimination scenarios that could take place:

  • Your accommodation requests were valid and your employer did not respond to your request or they outright refused to comply with them. Keep all documentation that shows you followed proper procedures for making your request and that it is indeed reasonable. If you are asking for outrageous modifications and overly expensive improvements, you may not have the strongest case.
  • Every time you are belittled or demeaned for your disability you should document it. Write down the names of the parties, the dates and times when a coworker harassed you along with what they said. If you have other colleagues that have seen this happen to you speaking to them about providing statements to what they witnessed can also support your harassment claim. Anything in writing can substantially support your claim, so texts, emails, screenshots, and the like are all worth saving when they show harassment.
  • If you were asked to take extra medical examinations to determine if a disability exists or if you were probed about your disability during an interview, then writing down what happened at your interview can be grounds for a claim.
  • If you filed a disability discrimination claim against your employer and then your employer reacts maliciously and unreasonably towards you like keeping you from promotions or raises, for instance, you can document all of this and show violations of the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act took place.

Speak With A Chicago Disability Discrimination Attorney Today

Statistically, when claimants that file civil suits against parties that have caused them harm are armed with skilled legal counsel, they increase the chances that the outcome of their case is the most favorable for their interests. If you would like to discuss your disability discrimination experience with a Chicago disability discrimination attorney at North Suburban Legal Services, please call (312) 909-6089 today to schedule a free consultation.




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