Disability Discrimination in the Workplace in Miami, FL
Disability discrimination in the workplace in Miami is prohibited under both federal and local laws. It occurs when an employee or job applicant is treated unfairly or harassed by an employer, CEO, supervisor or manager, co-worker, customer or client, vendor, or other non-employee because of a disability. The disability can be something that is easily noticeable or something that is only known if you choose to disclose it. For over 25 years, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped victims of disability discrimination, just like you, get the compensation they so rightly deserve.
What Is Discrimination Based on Disabilities in Miami?
Disability discrimination in the workplace is when an employee or job applicant is treated unfairly or harassed by an employer, CEO, supervisor/manager, co-worker, client/customer, vendor, or other non-employee because of a disability. Disabilities do not have to be visible. However, once your employer is aware of your disability, it is his responsibility to make reasonable accommodations for you and to help prevent discriminatory behavior from occurring in the workplace. Some examples of disabilities include, but are not limited to:
- Heart disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Mental health disorders
- Downs Syndrome
- Muscular dystrophy
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Alcoholism or substance abuse disorders
- Chronic Migraines
- Chronic Pain Disorders
- Wheelchair-bound due to physical disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is sometimes called the disability discrimination act. It protects employees and job applicants from being harassed or treated unfairly in a workplace of 15 or more employees because of a covered disability. In addition, under the ADA, employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees and job applicants with disabilities to continue to do their job.
The Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) prohibits disability discrimination in a workplace with 15 or more employees. Under the law, an employer must make reasonable accommodations for an employee or job applicant with disabilities to allow the employee or job applicant to conduct their work duties.
Finally, the Miami-Dade Human Rights Ordinance prohibits disability discrimination in Miami-Dade County businesses with 5 or more employees. The law also requires an employer makes any reasonable accommodations for the employee or job applicant so he or she can continue to conduct the assigned work.
Disability discrimination can come in many forms. It can be blatantly obvious or a little more subtle. In order to prove disability discrimination, you need one of three types of evidence: direct; disparate; or policy.
- Direct Evidence. Direct evidence is the type of evidence everyone wants to have. It is the “smoking gun.” Direct evidence is when it is said or written directly to you or to someone else that you were treated unfairly or harassed because of your disability.
- Disparate Evidence. This evidence is much more common. It shows a cause and effect relationship between the unfair treatment or harassment and the knowledge of your disability. For instance, if your employer learns you have cancer and then a week later you are told you cannot work on a project you had been promised, you may have disparate evidence of disability discrimination.
- Policy Evidence. Policy evidence is when a policy is discriminatory in nature. The intent may not be to discriminate, however, if it causes discrimination when it is followed, it can be evidence for a disability discrimination claim.
Disability discrimination can come in many forms. There can be outright harassment and unfair treatment, or it can be much more subtle. Some examples of disability discrimination in the workplace may include, but are not limited to:
• An employer failing to make proper accommodations for an employee or job applicant in a wheelchair
• A supervisor refusing to let an employee take a half-day off of work to go to necessary doctor’s appointments for her illness
• A co-worker making crude remarks about people with HIV even after he was repeatedly asked to stop
• A Manager refusing to allow an employee with diabetes to keep small snacks at their workstation to help regulate blood sugar levels
• A job applicant being denied a job because she mentions her ADHD in an interview
• A CEO making a policy that anyone with heart disease is to put on light duty under any circumstances for no reason other than his own misconceptions about heart disease
• A repairman makes fun of an employee with downs syndrome and is not reprimanded by the employer
• An employer knows an employee has dyslexia and calls her stupid and dumb when reprimanding her for a mistake
• Your supervisor does not believe you have chronic migraines and refuses to allow you to sit in a dark room to help your migraine subside
• A client refuses to allow you to work on his case because you are legally blind and must wear high prescription eyeglasses
• Your boss fires you for taking a week off to undergo intensive chemotherapy, even though it was approved by HR
• You are terminated because you complained that your supervisor makes fun of you for having anxiety
• You are demoted while in rehab for alcohol and drug abuse.
• Your employer denies continued benefits to you because you are diagnosed with a chronic illness
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) fields any claims filed under the ADA for disability discrimination in the workplace. You have a time limit of 300 days to file a claim with the EEOC. The EEOC will then investigate the claim to make sure it fits within the guidelines of disability discrimination and issue a Right to Sue letter. You may then file your claim with the federal courts.
The Florida Commission of Human Relations (FCHR) handles all claims relating to FCRA violations. You have a time limit of 1 year to file a claim with the FCHR regarding disability discrimination in the workplace in Miami.
The Commission on Human Rights Board (CHR Board) handles any claims of disability discrimination relating to the Miami-Dade County Human Rights Ordinance. The time limit to file the claim is 1 year.
Florida has a work-sharing agreement, which means that if you file a claim with one agency, the claim can and may be filed with all governing agencies to get you the best opportunity to obtain justice for your case.
If you are the victim of disability discrimination in the workplace, you have a right to ask the courts for justice. Some of the remedies the court may offer for your claim include, but are not limited to:
• Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
• Reimbursement of benefit premiums
• Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
• Reassignment or termination of the person responsible for the disability discrimination
• Reviewing and revamping disability discrimination policies
• Attorney’s fees
• Back pay
• Future pay
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional distress
• Punitive damages
In Miami, a lawsuit for disability discrimination can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months to a year or more depending on the details of your case. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement with you, your case may settle within 4 to 6 months. However, if your employer insists on going to trial, you may need 8 months to a year or longer to prepare for trial. The trial may then take anywhere from a few days to several weeks or more until a judgment is entered.
As the victim of workplace disability discrimination in Miami, you are likely weighing your options to determine if you want to sue your employer. While you make the decision, here are a few things you can do to help move your case along.
1. Contact an experienced disability discrimination attorney immediately.
2. If you are still employed, do not quit until you consult your attorney.
3. If your company has an HR department, file a complaint in writing regarding the disability discrimination.
4. If your company has a disability discrimination policy, follow it.
5. Gather evidence. Document everything, including what occurred, where it occurred, when it occurred, who was involved, and any witnesses.
6. Do not waste time. Your time to file a claim is limited. Do not wait until it is too late.
Contact Our Experienced Miami Disability Discrimination Attorneys for Your Free Consultation
Every employee is entitled to work in an environment where they are safe from harassment and discrimination based on their disabilities. If you are the victim of disability discrimination in Miami, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (305) 946-1884 for your free consultation. We will not collect any money until you win your case.
Types of Workplace Discrimination Cases We Handle in Miami:
- Race Discrimination
- Color Discrimination
- National Origin Discrimination
- Religion Discrimination
- Age (over 40) Discrimination
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Gender or Sex Discrimination
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination
- Genetic Information Discrimination
- Equal Pay/Compensation Discrimination
- Ethnic Discrimination
- LGBT Discrimination
- Hair Discrimination