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Top signs of disability discrimination in the workplace

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Disability Discrimination

You deserve to be protected from discrimination and harassment at your place of work. While that’s a guarantee that all workers should enjoy, a fair amount of them don’t. They’re sometimes treated unfairly simply because of their existence in a protected class such as race, gender, age, or ethnicity, characteristics that could lead to seriously adverse employment actions like demotion, decreased pay, and even termination from employment.

One set of workers that tend to face significant workplace challenges are those who suffer from disabilities. These individuals should enjoy the same equal employment opportunities as others, but far too often employers view the accommodations these workers need as burdensome. As a result, employers often try to find sneaky and illegal ways to discriminate against these workers in hopes of driving them out of the business.

How can you tell if disability discrimination is occurring?

As with other kinds of workplace discrimination, disability discrimination is often written off as something less severe than what it really is. Don’t make that mistake. If you witness or experience any of the following, then there’s a good chance that disability discrimination is occurring at your place of work:

  • You’re treated differently: Your employer should treat all employees the same regardless of their status in a protected class. But if you find that your employer is treating other non-disabled employees more favorable than they’re treating you, then you need to investigate the matter further. If this unequal treatment is reflected in promotional, job assignment, and termination decisions, then discrimination has likely occurred.
  • You aren’t provided accommodations: As a disabled worker, you can request reasonable accommodations. If your employer is required to provide those accommodations under the law, then they should only deny your request if they can show that providing them would create an undue burden. Far too often, though, employers deny these requests without providing any sort of explanation.
  • You’re subject to inaccessibility: You have to be able to access relevant areas of your work environment in order to appropriately conduct your job duties. When the workplace lacks ramps and elevators, then you could be prevented from completing your tasks. In turn, you might face criticism and poor performance appraisals simply because you were unable to complete your work. This can be construed as discriminatory action.
  • You’re subjected to derogatory comments: Statements about your disability can be hurtful, but many victims simply write these comments off as nothing more than a bad attempt at humor. Truth be told, though, these comments can be the predicate to negative and discriminatory employment action.
  • You’re treated unfairly in accordance with an existing company policy: Not all discrimination is intentional. Sometimes a seemingly neutral workplace policy or practice is discriminatory in its implementation because it primarily impacts those in a protected class. If you find that a policy at your place of work has a disparate impact on you and other disabled workers, then you’ve found discrimination in your workplace.

Fight to hold your employer accountable for discriminatory practices

Life with a disability is hard enough. You shouldn’t have to put up with discrimination in the workplace, too. After all, it can not only negatively impact your mental health, but it can also derail your career and prevent you from earning the income you need to be financially stable.

Don’t let your employer get away with that. If you suspect that you’ve been discriminated against at work, then take action to find accountability and recover the compensation you’re owed.