Workplace Health & Disability Discrimination

Discriminating against employees for disabilities or medical conditions is illegal. Unfortunately, some employers still exhibit prejudice based on health and disability. This infringes upon employees’ legal rights and is grounds for a lawsuit. 

Understanding Disability Discrimination

Employees are protected against disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the ADA. if an employer treats an employee or applicant adversely due to a disability, the employee has legal grounds for a lawsuit. The ADA also provides legal protection for employees in cases of discrimination due to the following:

  • A history of disability
  • A belief that the employee has a short-term or minor impairment, even if the employee doesn’t have an impairment
  • A relationship with a person with a disability (i.e., a disabled spouse)

Employers must, under the ADA, reasonably accommodate employees and applicants with a disability. The only exception to this is if providing this accommodation would cause “undue hardship” to the employer (serious practical or financial difficulty).

Understanding Medical Condition Discrimination

In the context of employment decisions, such as hiring, training, assigning job responsibilities, promoting, demoting, and firing employees, employers legally can’t discriminate based on a medical condition. Protection against this type of workplace discrimination is also included in the ADA, as well as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). While not all medical conditions are considered disabilities, given that treatment may resolve an employee’s condition. However, the protections provided by the ADA may apply to medical conditions in various cases.  

Medical Leave Under the FMLA

Employers are required to allow medical leave for employees in certain scenarios under the FMLA. However, the FMLA pertains to employees working a minimum of 1,250 hours per year at companies employing at least 50 employees. Employees at smaller companies who are experiencing workplace discrimination based on a medical condition may look into the protections provided by the ADA, given that it applies to employers with at least 15 employees. 

If you’ve experienced discrimination at the workplace due to a disability or medical condition, reach out to the experienced employment law attorneys at Weldon and Rothman today.