Disability Discrimination – What is a Disability?

Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats an individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant unfavorably because he/she has a disability. This includes not hiring, not promoting, not accommodating, or terminating someone because of a known or perceived as disability.

What is a disability?

It is not possible to include a list of all the specific conditions that would constitute physical or mental impairments, but some examples may be useful.

  • AIDS, and its symptoms;
  • Alcoholism;
  • Asthma;
  • Blindness or other visual impairments;
  • Cancer;
  • Cerebral palsy;
  • Depression;
  • PTSD;
  • Bi-polar Disorder;
  • Anxiety or Panic;
  • Diabetes;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Hearing or speech impairments;
  • Heart Disease;
  • Migraine Headaches;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Muscular dystrophy;
  • Orthopedic impairments;
  • Paralysis;
  • complications from Pregnancy;
  • Thyroid gland disorders;
  • Tuberculosis;
  • loss of body parts.

These are only a few of the qualifying disabilities that are covered under the American’s with Disability Act.  We find that most people will look at this list and say, yes, I have such a disability, but what does that mean?  The best way to explain this would be to give an example.

Client A suffers from diabetes.  While he at most times can perform his job without any complications, one day he became hypoglycemic, passed out in a chair and was thereafter accused of sleeping on the job and he was terminated.  This was an actual client, who prevailed on his suit against his employer for a discriminatory discharge due to his disability.

Client B suffers from a problem with IBS which requires that he use the bathroom frequently.  He performs as a driver which will require that he make stops along his route.  The employer refused to allow these stops, even after Client B provided a medical note.  The employer was found guilty of having failed to accommodate an employee with a known disability.

We understand that it is confusing and sometimes difficult to understand or even realize if your particular situation qualifies you as a covered individual with a disability.  That is why Employee Rights does NOT charge a consultation fee and why we urge you to call us to discuss your particular situation and let us help guide you.

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