How the ADA Affects Employment Discrimination Cases

By Gregory Thyberg on March 19, 2019


A man in a wheelchairSigned into law on July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an important piece of civil rights legislation that helps prevent discrimination on the basis of a disability. This means accommodating people with disabilities, and protecting these individuals from discriminatory practices at workplaces whether they are currently employed or seeking employment. Yet even with the ADA in place, there are still cases of disability discrimination at workplaces across the country. That’s why Sacramento, CA employment law attorney Gregory A. Thyberg is here to help.

The team at ThybergLaw would like to consider the ways that the ADA has helped combat disability discrimination. Knowing what protections are in place can help you determine if you have experienced some form of disability discrimination.

Disability Discrimination at the Workplace

Disability discrimination at the workplace can take numerous forms. In the hiring phase, this discrimination may take the form of refusal to hire on the basis of disability. When an employee is hired, the discrimination can involve anything from lower wages and pay to harassment from other employees.

The protections in the ADA cover all kinds of discriminatory practices and actions that may be experienced while on the job or seeking work.

ADA Definitions of Disability

First of all, the ADA has clear definitions of what is defined as a disability. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) notes the following conditions must be met to be considered disabled by the ADA:

  • A person has a physical or mental condition that substantially limits a major life activity or activities (e.g., walking, speaking, vision, hearing, learning)
  • A person has a history of a disability (e.g., cancer currently in remission)
  • A person is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not deemed transitory (lasting six months or less) and/or of minor impact to life activities

ADA and Reasonable Accommodation

Reasonable accommodation means that employers are required to provide items, breaks, office equipment, or other kinds of services to help employees with disabilities perform their jobs. The employer is not required to do so if it comes at great expense or undue hardship. Ensuring a that a workspace is wheelchair accessible is an example of a reasonable accommodation.

ADA Protections Against Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination means that an employee is fired or laid off for reasons unrelated to their job performance. If an employee loses their job because of their disability rather than their job performance, that is a type of disability discrimination.

ADA Protections for Wages and Salaries

The ADA ensures that employees with disabilities are paid the same wages and salaries for their work as fellow employees who do not have disabilities and perform the same kind of labor at the same experience level. If a disabled employee is paid less, that is a form of employment discrimination.

ADA Protections from Harassment

Harassment is never allowed at a workplace. If an employee is harassed because of their disability, or if the working environment is hostile to people with disabilities, that is a violation of a worker’s civil rights. Such actions should never be tolerated.

What Should I Do If I Was Discriminated Against?

If you believe that you have been the victim of workplace discrimination, be sure to report it to your supervisor or human resources department. If action is not taken to address these matters, you can file a formal complaint with the EEOC and speak with an employment lawyer about your legal options.

Learn More About Your Legal Options

For more information about fighting discrimination at your workplace, be sure to contact an experienced employment law attorney. The team at ThybergLaw is here to help. You can reach our legal practice by phone at (916) 204-9173.

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