Disability discrimination in Philadelphia occurs when an employee or job applicant is treated unfairly or harassed by an employer/CEO, supervisor/manager, co-worker or fellow employee, or non-employee based on his or her known or unknown disability. This is illegal and should never be tolerated. For over 25 years, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have worked with victims of disability discrimination in Philadelphia to get them the compensation they deserve.
Disability discrimination in Philadelphia is when an employee or job applicant is treated unfairly or harassed by his or her employer CEO, fellow employee, manager, customer or client, vendor, or other non-employee of the company. Disabilities can include easily identifiable issues or medical issues that are not easily seen, such as (but not limited to):
- Intellectual disabilities
- Partial or completely missing limbs
- Mobility Impairment/Wheelchair use
- Cerebral Palsy
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Drug or Alcohol addiction
- Hearing impairment
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the main federal law that protects an employee or job applicant from disability discrimination by an employer, supervisor, co-worker, or non-employee. To be covered under the ADA, the disability must substantially limit one or more major life activities, such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, sleeping, eating, breathing, learning, or performing manual tasks. If the disability is covered, and the employer has 15 or more employees, they must provide reasonable accommodations for the employee’s or job applicant’s disability. Reasonable accommodations could include:
- Providing equipment or services that enable the employee to do his or her job
- Restructuring the job to avoid non-essential tasks the employee or job applicant may be unable to do with his or her disability
- Modifying an employee’s work schedule or offering a part-time option
- Modifying training materials or company policies
- Reassigning an employee to a vacant position
- Addressing workplace accessibility issues
In addition to the ADA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will also protect employees who work for employers of 15 or more employees from discrimination based on disabilities.
In addition to federal law, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), protects employees or job applicants of employers with 4 or more employees from disability discrimination in the workplace.
Disability discrimination in the workplace in Philadelphia can take many forms. Some examples of workplace disability discrimination include:
- Refusal to hire due to disability
- Forcing a job applicant to take a medical exam before offering a job
- Denied promotions you are qualified to receive because of your disability
- Receiving less pay than similarly positioned employees because of your disability
- Failure to make a reasonable effort to accommodate disability
- Making jokes about disabilities
- Wrongful termination due to disability
- Retaliation against you for reporting jokes or hurtful comments about disabilities
- Refusal to provide you enough hours or proper information to allow you to obtain employee benefits
- Denying you benefits for your spouse who is disabled
- Denying you the right to work on a project because of your disability
- Denying you proper accommodations to access public accommodations
- Creating events or training in a location that does not provide access to anyone with disabilities
- Requesting medical records as part of the hiring process
- Retaliation for taking time off to help a disabled family member
- Spreading information about a disability to others in the office without permission of the employee
- Continuing to call an employee derogatory names relating to his or her disability even after the employer has learned of the disability
If your claim is filed under the laws of the ADA, a victim of disability discrimination in Philadelphia has a time limit of 2 years after the last incident of discrimination. However, if the employer “willfully discriminated” against you, you would have 3 years to file the claim.
Title VII is governed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC provides a time limit of 300 days from the date of the last incident of discrimination to file your claim in federal court.
Finally, PHRA is governed by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC), which provides a time limit of 180 days from the last incident of discrimination to file a claim. In Pennsylvania, you can file the claim with the PHRC and they will file a claim with the EEOC to ensure you are given all opportunities to have your case in the court best suited for your client.
When filing a claim for workplace disability discrimination in Philadelphia, it is only natural to ask about the remedies available. After all, you have been victimized and deserve justice. The courts may offer monetary remedies and/or injunctions (actions) to help make sure you are getting the justice you deserve. Some of the remedies may include:
• Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
• Reimbursement of benefit premiums
• Reimbursement of medical bills and other related expenses
• Back pay
• Future pay
• Installation of proper accommodations
• Review and revamp company policy
• Attorney’s Fees
• Pain and Suffering
• Emotional Distress
• Punitive Damages, which are damages intended to “punish” the employer. These damages can be based on, in part, the nature of the action, whether this is a first offense, and the gross profits of the company.
The length of time for a lawsuit varies on several issues. Typically, a disability discrimination lawsuit can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months to 1 year or longer. If the case settles out of court because your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement, it will likely take only a few months.
However, if the defendant does not want to settle and would rather go to trial, the case can take a year or longer for the process and trial to be completed.
If you are facing discrimination for your disability, here are the steps you should take that may help end the discrimination and will make your case as strong as possible if you decide to take legal action:
- Contact a disability discrimination attorney in Philadelphia immediately!
- If your company has an internal policy for complaints, be sure to follow it. It may not protect you at work (that’s what we are for!) but it will help preserve your claim.
- Make sure you report any wrongdoing or discrimination to your Human Resources (HR) department if you have one.
- Put all communications about discrimination in writing. If you speak with HR or your superiors about it, be sure to follow up with an email recapping your conversation.
- Gather and secure any evidence you can. This includes each incident, who was involved, when and where it occurred, what was said or done, who was involved, and who witnessed the incident.
- Do not quit your job. If you have not been fired, quitting will weaken your disability discrimination case.
Contact Our Experienced Disability Discrimination Attorney in Philadelphia for a Free Consultation
Every employee and job applicant is entitled to be considered for employment and have positive working experience, regardless of disabilities. If you are the victim of disability discrimination in the workplace in Philadelphia, the experienced attorneys at Derek Smith Law Group can help. Contact us today at (215) 391-4790 for a free consultation. We do not collect 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