In Wisconsin, there are a variety of state and federal laws in place to ensure that people with disabilities do not face discrimination in the workplace. Employers have a responsibility to provide equal opportunities for people with disabilities, and employees should make sure they know their legal rights and understand the resources available to protect them against discrimination. With the help of an employment law attorney, employers and employees can make sure discrimination issues are addressed correctly.
Understanding Disability Discrimination
First, it is important to understand how a disability is defined in the context of employment discrimination. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a disability is a physical or mental condition that places significant limits on a major life activity, such as a person’s ability to walk, talk, see, hear, learn, or use different parts of their body. A person may be considered disabled if they have a history of disability, if they have medical records or other documentation of disabilities, or are perceived to have a qualifying impairment. To be considered disabled, the limitation does not need to be permanent or long-term. A person is considered temporarily disabled if their disability lasts or is expected to last more than six months.
Disability discrimination may include any adverse actions against an employee based on their limitations. A person’s disability cannot impact decisions about hiring, compensation, promotions, benefits, leave, or termination. If a person can perform the essential functions of a job, an employer cannot discriminate against them. Employers are also generally required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, if the accommodations do not create an undue hardship for the employer. Failure to provide reasonable accommodations may be considered discrimination.
Ways Employers Can Address Disability Discrimination
Employers can take proactive steps to prevent disability discrimination and ensure that all employees are treated fairly. These steps may include improving accessibility in the workplace, providing reasonable accommodations to employees as requested, and instituting policies that foster a discrimination-free environment. Employers can also make sure all employees have equal opportunities for training, promotions, and benefits. By listening to feedback from employees, employers can foster a positive work environment and prevent potential discrimination claims.
Ways Employees Can Address Disability Discrimination
Employees who experience disability discrimination must speak up and report any incidents to their employers. If necessary, an employee can also file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Equal Rights Division (ERD). A person who has experienced discrimination should file a report with the EEOC or ERD no later than 300 days after an adverse action was taken against them or after they became aware of these actions. An employee may be compensated for the loss of income or other adverse effects of discrimination, or their employer may be required to restore them to their previous position and make reasonable accommodations.
Contact Our Milwaukee, WI Disability Discrimination Lawyers
As they address disability discrimination, employers must make an ongoing effort to promote a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace culture. With the help of their employees, employers can create a workplace that values diversity and treats everyone with respect and dignity. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our Milwaukee employment law attorneys work with employers and employees to address issues related to disability discrimination. We can advise employers on how to protect themselves against discrimination claims, and we can help employees who have experienced discrimination take steps to protect their rights. To learn more about how we can assist with these issues, contact us at 414-271-1440 and set up a consultation.