As a worker with a disability, you likely hope to be judged on your work performance and treated with basic respect. Unfortunately, some employees and employers mock or act cruelly toward workers with disabilities. If you were harmed by disability harassment in the workplace, you may be able to recover damages through a lawsuit. You should consult the New York City disability harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates.Disability Harassment Under the New York City Human Rights Law
The New York City Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination arising out of a worker’s actual or perceived disability. If an employer knows that an employee has a disability, it is supposed to provide reasonable accommodations to allow the worker to satisfy the essential prerequisites of a job. A disability under the city law can include any physical, psychological, mental, or medical impairment or a record or history of an impairment. Any impairment of a bodily system may count as a disability under the city law. Harassment is a type of employment discrimination.
Many people find they are terminated shortly after revealing a medical condition or medical procedure they have to undergo to their employer. This temporal proximity may help you prove your disability discrimination case. If you are harassed based on a disability, you may be able to recover damages. Under the city law, you would need to show that you were treated less well than other employees based on your disability. The harassing conduct must be more than a petty slight or grievance. The employer bears the burden of showing that the harassing conduct was trivial.
If you are in a wheelchair, for example, and your coworkers routinely single you out and call you a cripple, this may be disability harassment. You should report it to HR or use your employer’s grievance procedure to allow the employer a chance to rectify the situation. If your employer fails to do anything, a disability harassment attorney in New York City can help you bring a claim. For another example, if you are regularly the only employee written up by your supervisor for certain actions that all the employees take, and you were singled out because you have a disability, this may be disability harassment. If you are autistic, and your coworkers say that you are mental, physically push you around to make fun of you, and routinely mock your style of speech, this may be disability harassment.
You may also be entitled to time off or a modified work schedule due to a medical condition. If you have a disability and request an accommodation from your employer, including time off you employer will have to evaluate your accommodation to determine if they can give that to you. They cannot just deny the request without doing an analysis of the request and discussing this with you. They may offer a different accommodation, but they have to enter into an interactive process with you regarding your request and their ability to accommodate your request. If you ask for a reasonable accommodation for your chronic fatigue syndrome, and as a result of your request, you spend the next several months being called names by your manager and told that you are too slow and should quit, you may have a basis to sue for disability harassment under the city law.Disability Harassment Under State and Federal Laws
Under the New York State Human Rights Law, a disability is defined as a medical, physical, or mental impairment arising out of a genetic, neurological, anatomical, or physiological condition that stops the exercise of ordinary bodily function or that can be shown by medically accepted laboratory diagnostic techniques or clinical techniques. A disability also includes a record of such an impairment or a condition regarded by others as an impairment. Harassment based on an employee’s disability is a form of discrimination.
A New York City disability harassment attorney can help you pursue damages under the state law if your work environment is permeated with discriminatory insults, ridicule, or intimidation related to your disability that is sufficiently pervasive or severe to create an abusive work environment. For example, if your legs were amputated in an accident, such that you wear prosthetics, and your coworkers hide your prosthetic leg and email you cruel memes about your disability over a period of months, you may be able to show a hostile work environment.
The federal Americans with Disabilities Act also prohibits disability discrimination and harassment. The statute defines a disability as a mental or physical impairment that substantially restricts one or more major life activities. It can include a record of an impairment or being perceived as having this type of impairment, even if you do not actually have it. The standard for a hostile work environment based on disability harassment under the ADA is similar to the standard under state law.Retain a Dedicated Disability Harassment Lawyer in New York City
If you were harmed by disability harassment in your workplace, you should talk to a seasoned employment law attorney about your situation. The trial attorneys at Phillips & Associates represent victims of disability harassment in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island, along with Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or via our online form.
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