New York City, Philadelphia & New Jersey Disability Discrimination Attorneys
Disability Discrimination Attorneys level the playing field for NY-NJ-PA disabled employees
The New York City, Philadelphia & New Jersey disability discrimination attorneys at the employment law firm of Derek T. Smith Law Group, PLLC offer hard-hitting legal representation for those suffering from disability discrimination in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you are being harassed, denied employment, or denied accommodations in the workplace for a disability, our New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey disability discrimination attorneys will provide effective and efficient legal counsel for your disability discrimination lawsuit.
Every working man and women in New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey, even those with disabilities, have the right to get a good job based on their skills and abilities. A disability should never prevent you from holding a position of employment for which you are qualified. A disability also should not give your employer and co-workers a free pass to discriminate against or harass you in your place of employment. Unfortunately, everyday handicapped individuals are being unfairly denied employment opportunities because of their disability. When a company infringes on your basic right to employment, our New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey disability discrimination attorneys are here to help you with your EEOC claim or disability discrimination lawsuit. Our disability discrimination lawyers offer a free consultation and never charge a fee unless we recover for you in your disability discrimination case.
An introduction to Disability Discrimination in New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey
If you are disabled, it legally should not impact your ability to gain and maintain meaningful employment. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New York Human Rights Law, employers cannot treat qualified individuals differently because of a handicap or disability, or perceived disability. Importantly, employers must provide “Reasonable Accommodations” to disabled individuals.
Unlawful discriminatory employment practices refer to discrimination in the hiring, firing, and the terms and conditions of employment, as well as job training. “Discrimination” also refers to harassment within the workplace. An employer cannot discriminate against any disabled person for requesting reasonable and legal medical leave or a reasonable accommodation.
The Americans with Disabilities Act
Enacted in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination against individuals with disabilities. A person is considered “disabled” under the ADA if he or she meets one of three statutory requirements. First, he or she may have “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1)(A). Alternatively, he or she may have a record or be regarded as having such a disability. Thus, a person is “disabled,” within the meaning of the ADA if he or she has an impairment that actually substantially limits a major life activity, if there is a record that such a disability exists, or if the individual is perceived to have a disability, whether or not that disability severely limits a major life activity.
Given the above definition, any inquiry into an ADA claim will have two initial elements. First, the court must decide whether the claimed actual, recorded or regarded disability limits a major life activity. Second, if there is a limitation of a major life activity, the court must decide whether such limitation is “substantial.”
Major life activities are broken into two categories: tasks and functions. Tasks are defined to include “caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.” Functions, in turn, are defined as “including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.” Given these expansive (and non-exclusive) definitions, most ADA threshold inquiries will turn on whether the major life activity is substantially limited (rather than whether the limitation exists).
Under authority of the ADA, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has promulgated regulations to be used when determining whether a limitation of a major life activity is substantial. In this regard, the EEOC has directed that the phrase “‘substantially limits’ should be construed broadly in favor of expansive coverage to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of the ADA.”
To meet its broad definition of “substantially limits” the EEOC has explained that “impairment need not prevent, or significantly or severely restrict, the individual from performing a major life activity in order to be considered substantially limiting.” 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(j). Furthermore, both the ADA and the implementing regulations recognize that an “episodic” limitation may qualify an individual as disabled under the statute. However, duration of an impairment is a consideration in determining whether the impairment is substantial. Thus, where an impairment is expected to last for a short period of time, it likely will have to be more severe than a normal impairment to qualify an individual as disabled. Put differently, an impairment may substantially limit a major life activity, even if the restriction is not significant or severe, and even if the restriction is in remission.
It is important to note that the foregoing standard for proving a disability under the ADA represents the effect of dramatic changes to the statute brought about by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAA). Accordingly, in many situations, recourse to case law decided before the 2008 amendments may be inappropriate or unwise. Consultation with an experienced and knowledge ADA attorney is strongly suggested.
The New York Human Rights Law
In conjunction with the ADA, the New York Human Rights Law (HLR) also safeguards the rights of disabled persons in NYC. In general, the HLR offers a broader range of employee disability protections. The HLR applies to all public employees in addition to private employers with four or more workers. Employment agencies and labor unions are covered under the HLR.
What is the definition of disability in my NYC workplace?
The ADA and HRL define disability slightly differently. Depending on your specific circumstances, your NYC discrimination attorney may decide to apply either law to your case.
Under the ADA, you have a disability if you meet one of these requirements:
- a physical or mental impairment that “substantially limits” one or more “major life activities”;
- a record of such an impairment; or
- you are regarded as having such an impairment.
Under the HRL, a “handicap or disability” means you meet one of these requirements:
- a physical, mental or medical impairment resulting from anatomical, physiological, genetic or neurological conditions which prevents the exercise of a normal bodily function or is demonstrable by medically accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques; or
- a record of such an impairment; or
- a condition regarded by others as such an impairment.
According to the New York Human Rights Law, you do not have to show that your handicap substantially limits major life activities.
Examples of covered disability discrimination conditions
There are a wide range of EEOC diseases, disorders, mental illnesses, and physical impairments covered by both the Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA Amendments Act and HRL, including:
|· Diabetes||· Cancer|
|· Epilepsy||· Intellectual Disabilities.|
In addition, regulatory guidance also lists the following conditions as disabilities:
|· Partial or Completely Missing Limbs||· Autism|
|· Mobility Impairments / wheel chair use||· Cerebral Palsy|
|· HIV Infection||· Multiple sclerosis|
|· Muscular dystrophy||· Major depressive disorder|
|· Bipolar disorder||· Post-traumatic stress disorder|
|· Obsessive-compulsive disorder||· Schizophrenia|
|· Blindness||· Drug addiction and alcoholism|
|· Hearing impairments||· And many more…|
Every case is situation-specific. By example, if you are suffer from a substance abuse problem but are currently still using illicit drugs, you may not be covered. However, if you no longer use illegal drugs but need continued treatment for alcoholism and/or drug addiction, it may be considered a qualified condition. Speak to an experienced New York City, New Jersey or Philadelphia disability discrimination lawyer today to find out if you have a discrimination case worth pursuing.
What is a reasonable accommodation when it comes to an employment disability?
As long as the accommodation does not impose “undue hardship,” an employer must provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees. Under the ADA, reasonable accommodations are modifications or adjustments which enable a qualified applicant to perform his or her job, and be considered for that job in the first place. The modification should allow them to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of other workers.
If a company unjustly denies you reasonable accommodations, speak with one of our New York City, New Jersey or Philadelphia disability discrimination lawyers right away.
Do not wait to speak with an New York or Philadelphia Disability Discrimination Attorney
A disability should never hinder your ability to succeed in the professional world. The New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey Disability Discrimination Attorneys at the employment law firm of the Derek T. Smith Law Group are your Number One resource for employment law conflicts in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island and throughout New York, New Jersey & Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We solely represent employees in disputes, staunchly advocating for Disability discrimination victims’ right to a fair workplace. Contact our office today for a FREE CONSULTATION with our disability discrimination attorneys at 877-469-5297 or online.