Disability discrimination is a continuing problem

Disabled New Yorkers often face discrimination at work or while applying for a job. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, disability discrimination remains a problem of national scope. People who face workplace disability discrimination may have legal remedies available to them, however.

According to the EEOC, 26,968 charges alleging disability discrimination were filed in 2015. This accounted for 30 percent of all of the discrimination charges that were filed with the agency during the year. The number of filed disability discrimination charges has increased by 12,000 over those filed in 2005. In 2016, Lowe’s Home Improvement settled an $8.6 million class-action lawsuit involving thousands of disabled employees the company had terminated.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found stark employment differences between disabled and non-disabled people. Among the disabled, 17.5 percent were employed while 65 percent of non-disabled people were employed. The increase in filed charges of disability discrimination may be due to several factors. Outreach efforts may have led to disabled people being more informed about their rights, and they may be less hesitant to pursue remedies. The laws have also changed, and employers still continue to discriminate against people who have disabilities.

Employee rights include the right to work free from discrimination based on membership or perceived membership in a protected class. When a person has a disability, the employer is requiredto make reasonable accommodations. Not all accommodations are considered to be reasonable ones, however. An employment law attorney might review what happened and make an initial assessment of whether or not the requested accommodation was reasonable. If it was, then the attorney might help the client with gathering the evidence needed to support the filing of a claim with the EEOC. If the EEOC then gives the client permission to sue, the lawyer may initiate a formal lawsuit.

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