Disability Discrimination During the Interview or Hiring Process
Even if you have substantial experience in a field or industry, an employer may decide to forgo hiring you based on any health issues you may have at the time of a job interview. This discriminatory hiring practice unfairly penalizes disabled workers who are otherwise qualified to hold a certain position. According to the employer, the disability is a potential hindrance that may take you away from the tasks and duties that the job description provides. Fortunately, federal and state laws outline substantial protections for disabled job applicants and penalties for employers that discriminate against them. At Phillips & Associates, our employment discrimination lawyers can advise job seekers in New York City on asserting their rights against a company that treated them wrongfully during the hiring process.Understanding the Rights of Job Applicants with Disabilities
In general, disability discrimination happens when an employer or other entity that falls within the Americans with Disabilities Act’s scope treats a job applicant who has a disability unfavorably based on his or her condition. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides broad protections for employees and applicants with disabilities. It even applies when the condition is something that involves a prior health issue, like cancer in remission. Also, physical and mental impairments that only last a temporary period of time fall under the ADA’s scope. As a true example of how broad its protections are, it even protects individuals who are not disabled but who are in a relationship with a person suffering from a disability.
Many employers discriminate against disabled applicants by being reluctant to meet the ADA’s requirements that they provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations to help them perform their job duties. An employer is exempted from providing reasonable accommodations only if doing so would create a significant difficulty or expense for the employer. This exemption is also known as the undue hardship exception to the rule. All of these protections extend to the hiring and application process.
New York is one of the few states that currently requires employers to give employees disability benefits coverage for any non-work related health issues or illnesses. Although this is a tremendous asset for disability sufferers, it also makes some employers less willing to hire disabled employees, knowing that their overhead costs may increase as a result.
During a job interview or other interaction in the application process, it is important to listen carefully to a prospective employer’s questions to determine whether there is any hidden discriminatory intent. Although some disabilities may be visually apparent to an employer, questions regarding whether the applicant has any non-apparent illnesses or conditions are likely inappropriate and violate the federal and state protections provided to disabled job applicants.Pursue a Discrimination Claim with a New York City Lawyer
If you think that you may have been passed over for a job opportunity based on an illness, health issue, or disability, you may want to consider legal action. At Phillips & Associates, we understand how frustrating this can be for you and your family, especially when you are clearly qualified for the position. Our attorneys can bring discrimination and wrongful termination claims on behalf of workers throughout New York City, including in Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens as well as in Westchester County and Long Island. Call us today at (212) 248-7431 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.