Several rules help to protect people from medical discrimination in the workplace. For example, someone’s genetic information should not trigger employer discrimination. Additionally, those with actual disabling medical conditions should not have to worry about current or prospective employers considering their medical condition instead of their abilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enshrines key protections for workers with significant medical conditions in law at the federal level. The law protects workers against disability discrimination. Employers should not consider someone’s medical condition when deciding whether to hire them, fire them, offer them a promotion, increase their wages or include them on a project. Unfortunately, disability discrimination remains relatively common in the United States. Many claims against employers related to disability discrimination involve the same type of misconduct.
Businesses often don’t offer proper support
Part of what makes the ADA such a valuable piece of legislation is how it imposes an obligation on employers to accommodate those with disabling medical conditions. If someone can perform necessary job tasks with reasonable accommodations, then employers should provide that for the worker.
Whether they need a change in job responsibilities, the option of working remotely, assistive technology or changes to the facilities, employers should comply with reasonable requests for accommodations validated by someone’s medical records. A significant amount of the disability discrimination claims brought against businesses every year focus on their refusal to accommodate workers.
When is a refusal acceptable?
Some workers have conditions that require extensive interventions and accommodations. Those needs may be beyond what some employers can accommodate. The scope of the business’s operations, the accommodations required and the expense involved can all influence whether or not an accommodation request is reasonable.
For employers to lawfully refuse to accommodate a worker, the business typically means evidence supporting its claims that the accommodation request creates an undo hardship. Essentially, if the business cannot absorb the costs or operational changes without causing significant damage to the organization, then it may have the necessary legal justification to refuse to provide certain accommodations.
Workers often struggle to analyze their situations objectively and may need support when trying to determine if refused accommodation requests relate to actual undue hardship or discrimination. Reviewing medical records and other details in depth with an attorney can help people evaluate whether they have experienced disability discrimination on the job and if they are in a position to take action.