3 signs of disability discrimination at work

If you live with a disabling physical condition, the American with Disabilities Act makes it illegal for your employer, co-workers and clients to discriminate against you because of your disability. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also states that if you possess the qualifications to perform the essential functions of your job, your employer must make reasonable accommodations for you.

Your employer cannot retaliate against you for asserting your rights under the ADA. Even so, disability discrimination can still occur, so it is important to watch for common signs of mistreatment based on your condition.

1. Harassment

Your employer may discriminate against you for having a physical disability if he or she regularly harasses you when you come to work. Harassment can take on many forms, including:

  • Using intimidation tactics to make you act a certain way
  • Making offensive comments or jokes about your disability
  • Refusing to make reasonable accommodations for you to perform the duties of your job effectively
  • Treating you differently than other people in your workplace because of your disability

Your employer is responsible for keeping your workplace from becoming a hostile work environment, so he or she should also prevent your co-workers and customers from harassing you for your disability.

2. Unfair practices

Your employer may try to institute unfair practices to make it difficult for you to work if you experience disability discrimination. For example, he or she may pressure you to retire, lay you off first during company restructuring phases, refuse to offer you raises or reassign your duties to include less-than-desirable tasks.

3. Lack of opportunity

Your employer cannot prevent you from receiving raises or promotions based on your disability. He or she also cannot refuse to hire you because you are physically disabled. You may have a discrimination case if your employer fails to provide standard mobility opportunities to you because of your physical disability.