Disability discrimination in New York City occurs when an employee or job applicant is treated unfairly or harassed by an employer, supervisor/manager, CEO, co-worker, client/customer, vendor, or other non-employee because of a disability. The disability can be visible to the public or could be something that is only known if you choose to let people know it exists. Both federal and state laws prohibit disability discrimination in the workplace. 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 deserve.
What Is Discrimination Based on Disabilities in New York City?
Disability discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employee or job applicant is treated unfairly or harassed by an employer, supervisor or manager, CEO, co-worker, or non-employee because of a disability. Under both federal and state laws, it is prohibited to make any type of employment decisions solely based on a person’s disability. In addition, the law requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations for an employee or job applicant who is disabled so the individual can continue to work in his or her current position.
Disabilities may be visible to the common person or may not appear unless someone tells you about them. Some common disabilities may include, but are not limited to:
- Heart disease
- Mental Health Disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Downs Syndrome
- Alcoholism or substance abuse disorders
- Mobility impairments
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the federal law that protects employees and job seekers in companies with 15 or more employees from discrimination in the workplace based on covered disabilities.
The New York Human Rights Law (NYHRL) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYC HRL) are state and local laws that protect employees and job applicants in companies with 4 or more employees from discrimination in the workplace based on covered disabilities.
In order to prove disability discrimination in the workplace, you must produce evidence that you were treated unfairly or harassed because you are disabled. This can be done in three ways: direct evidence; disparate evidence; and policy evidence.
- Direct Evidence. Direct evidence is exactly as it sounds. It is when it is said or written that you were treated unfairly because you are disabled. Many times, this is called “the smoking gun.” The statement can be said directly to you or said to someone else about you. It can also come in the form of an email or text either directly sent to you or accidentally sent to you. The key is the content must express that the direct cause for the discriminatory actions was your disability.
- Disparate Evidence. Disparate evidence is more common. It shows a cause and effect relationship between discrimination and the knowledge of a disability. For instance, if your employer learns that you are HIV positive and then terminate you a week later, you may have disparate evidence of disability discrimination.
- Policy Evidence. Sometimes a company policy is discriminatory by nature. Enforcing the policy can be the reason for the discrimination. Whether this is intentional or unintentional is not a concern. The issue is the policy, which can be used as evidence for your disability discrimination claim.
Disability discrimination in the workplace comes in many different forms. Sometimes it is blatantly harassing or unfair treatment based on a person’s disability. Other times, it is more subtle and may not be something everyone would notice. Some examples of discrimination against disabled employees may include, but are not limited to:
• Terminating an employee after learning of a chronic illness
• Co-workers making insensitive jokes about cancer patients even after being asked to stop
• Your employer refuses to adjust your work schedule to help accommodate your need for doctor’s appointments
• Your employer demotes you because you can no longer lift more than 50 lbs., even though that is not a job requirement
• You are denied working on a project because you are in a wheelchair
• Your employer does not have ADA approved bathroom stalls or entrances for the office
• You have seen a reduction of hours in your schedule due to your recent MS diagnosis
• You are terminated for complaining about your supervisor’s comments about you being an alcoholic to the entire staff
• Your job is terminated while you undergo treatment for substance abuse
• Your co-worker tells everyone to stay away from you because you have HIV
• Your boss yells at you and tells you that you are the dumbest person he has ever worked with even though he knows you have a learning disability.
Disability discrimination in the workplace in New York City claims are filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The time limit to file a claim is 300 days from the date of the last incident of discrimination. The EEOC will investigate the claim to make sure it falls within the guidelines of the ADA and issue a Right to Sue letter. Then, you can file a lawsuit in federal court for your claim.
If you have a claim under the NYC HRL, you have a time limit of one year to file a claim with the New York City Commission of Human Rights. The Commission will investigate the claim and allow you to proceed with your case if your claim meets the guidelines.
As a victim of disability discrimination in the workplace, you have rights. New York City courts offer relief for victims to help them maintain those rights. Some of the remedies available may include, but are not limited to:
- Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
- Reimbursement of benefit premiums
- Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
- Instituting requested accommodations for your disability
- Reviewing and revamping disability policies
- Reassigning or terminating the person responsible for the discriminatory behavior
- Back pay
- Future pay
- Attorney’s fees
- Emotional Distress
- Pain and Suffering
A lawsuit for disability discrimination in New York City can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months to a year or longer. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement, your lawsuit may settle in as little as 4 to 6 months. However, if your employer is not willing to negotiate, your case may take 8 months to a year or longer to prepare for trial. The trial may then last another few days to several weeks or more before a judgment is entered.
As a victim of disability discrimination in the workplace, there are several things you can do while you determine whether you wish to bring a lawsuit against your employer.
1. Contact an experienced disability discrimination lawyer immediately.
2. If you are still employed, do not quit your job until you consult with your attorney.
3. If your company has an HR department, file a complaint in writing regarding the discrimination based on your disability.
4. If your company has a disability discrimination policy, follow it.
5. Gather evidence. Document every incident including what occurred, who was involved, when and where it occurred, and any witnesses.
6. Do not waste time. You have a year or less to file a claim for disability discrimination in New York City. Do not wait until it is too late.
Contact Our Experienced New York City Disability Discrimination Attorneys for Your Free Consultation
All employees deserve an opportunity to work in a place free from discrimination, whether they are disabled or not. If you are a victim of workplace disability discrimination in New York City, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (215) 587-0760 for your free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.
Different Types of Workplace Discrimination Cases We Handle:
- 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