Disability Discrimination: Advocating for Equal Opportunities and Accommodations

Discrimination against people with disabilities may sometimes be unintentional or happen due to oversight, but most often, it’s not, particularly in the workplace. Barriers to employment are rampant for these people. This can be estimated from the fact that out of the 61 million American adults with a disability, only a little over 21% are employed. Of these employed individuals, 30% do part-time jobs. In a research conducted by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019, more than 50% of unemployed people with disabilities reported being faced with some kind of barrier to employment.

Barriers to Employment for People with Disabilities

There are multiple factors that can make it difficult for people with disabilities to find gainful employment. And most of them fall under the banner of discrimination in one way or the other. These include lack of access to public education and training, institutional bias, employment opportunities, and the unavailability or unwillingness of employers to make accommodations/adjustments for them on the job.

There are hundreds of thousands of people who, despite their disabilities, are fully capable of taking up full-time jobs and being productive. But they are discriminated against just because of their disability.

What Can You Do About It? Advocating Disability Rights in the Workplace

Here’s what you can do to counter disability discrimination in the professional world and claim your employee rights:

· Educate Yourself

You won’t be able to counter discriminatory practices unless you know your legal employee rights under disability protection laws. So, the first thing you must do is to educate yourself on them.

There are two primary federal laws that enforce nondiscrimination in employment – The Rehabilitation Act (1973) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).

The 1973 Rehabilitation Act includes three sections that prohibit employers from disability discrimination. These include Sections 501, 503, and 504, requiring federal agencies, government contractors, and those receiving financial assistance from the federal government to hire and promote qualified people with disabilities and refrain from discriminating against them.

The ADA prohibits all government and private employers, hiring agencies, and labor organizations from discriminating against qualified people due to their disabilities at any step of the employment process, from job applications to promotions to providing benefits. The federal civil rights law also prohibits employers from firing anyone if they develop a disability during employment and regard it as wrongful termination.

· Talk to the HR or Your Boss

If you experience discrimination anywhere during the employment process, the first thing you must do is to talk to HR or, if you are already employed, to your supervisor, depending on the situation and comfort level. Bring the issue you’re facing to their notice. They may help address it.

· File a Complaint

If talking to HR or your boss doesn’t work, you must file a formal complaint to bring it on record. Make sure to refer to your company’s policies and consider the timeline (if there is any) pertaining to filing formal complaints.

· File a Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Experiencing employment discrimination based on a disability makes you eligible to file a federal lawsuit against the employer. However, you must first file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the state. The timeline for filing this complaint is 180 days for non-federal workers in most states. Some, however, allow submitting an EEOC complaint within 300 days of the discriminatory incident.

Federal employees only have 45 days to file the charge, and the complaint must be submitted to the Equal Employment Opportunity Program of the federal agency you’re associated with.

In both situations, you must prepare a strong application with any supporting documentation or evidence you may have. Getting an employee rights attorney to do it for you can offer great help in this process. Being experienced in dealing with such cases, they can help you build a strong case. They will also assist you in filing a formal discrimination liability claim or lawsuit in federal court.

Self-Advocacy Is Critical

If you are a person with a disability, it’s important to learn self-advocacy. Don’t wait for others to come to your help, raise a voice for you, or rescue you. Know your rights, learn to pitch your qualities and strengths to employers, don’t hesitate to initiate conversations around disability discrimination and laws relating to it, and don’t be afraid to step up and raise your voice against discrimination and file a complaint or lawsuit if needed.

Contact The Bourassa Law Group to File a Disability Discrimination Lawsuit in Nevada

What to know how to sue your employer for disability discrimination or need legal help with it? We’ve got you covered!

We at the Bourassa Law Group have a team of highly experienced employee rights lawyers in Nevada with a proven track record of success. We can help you fight against any discrimination you may have faced (or are facing) at the workplace due to a disability or denial of employment rights that the law entitles you to. Dial (702) 851-2180 to talk to our Nevada employee rights attorneys for a free case evaluation.

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