Westchester County Disability Discrimination
Westchester County had an estimated population of 980,000 residents as of 2017. It is home to the headquarters of many Fortune 500 companies, many of which employ people with various physical or mental health conditions. Federal and state laws forbid disability discrimination. These laws define the concept of disability differently and have other differences, but there are many impairments and medical conditions that qualify as disabilities and warrant seeking a reasonable accommodation. If you have been a victim of disability discrimination, you should consult the experienced Westchester County disability discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates, a firm that is committed to fighting for the rights of disabled workers to be treated fairly on the job.Disability Discrimination Defined Under the Law
The primary federal law prohibiting disability discrimination is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the ADA. Under the ADA, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. You are also protected if you have a record of such an impairment or if you have any sort of condition perceived by others as an impairment. What is a "major life activity?" It can be an ordinary activity, like caring for self, focusing, reading, breathing, moving, seeing, or speaking. It could also include the operation of body parts or neurological functions.
The New York State Human Rights Law defines disability slightly differently, but in many cases, there is an overlap between what the ADA sees as a disability and what the state law sees as a disability. Under state law, disabilities are impairments, whether medical, mental, or physical, if they are based on neurological, genetic, physiological, or anatomical conditions, prevent normal functioning of the body, or can be shown with medically accepted diagnostic methods. A disability discrimination attorney can assist Westchester County residents with determining whether this definition covers them.
Disability discrimination occurs under state law when covered employers treat qualified disabled employees adversely because of their disability, denying them equal opportunities and benefits as compared to employees who do not have disabilities. For example, if your cancer is in remission, but your employer does not want to promote you in case you have a relapse, this may be disability discrimination. For another example, if your supervisor and coworkers regularly make fun of your wheelchair and make jokes about disabled employees, this hostile work environment harassment may also be a form of disability discrimination.Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities
If you are a disabled employee, you may have a right to ask for a reasonable accommodation under either federal or state law. Reasonable accommodations are alterations in procedures and practices in the workplace that would allow a disabled job applicant or disabled employee to apply for or do the job. For example, if you are diabetic, a reasonable accommodation might include allowing you to take breaks to eat a snack to maintain your blood sugar levels or a modification to your schedule to allow you to see your doctor. A reasonable accommodation for a blind employee might include having certain materials provided in Braille. Our Westchester County disability discrimination attorneys can help you determine what a reasonable accommodation might look like in your situation.
An employer is allowed to deny you a reasonable accommodation if providing it would pose an undue hardship. However, an employer does not need to give you the precise accommodation that you have requested. Instead, the employer is entitled to ask you some questions and engage in a dialogue with you about your disability to determine which accommodation it could give you that would address your disability and also be feasible for the employer. Your employer should not discriminate or retaliate against you for asking for a reasonable accommodation.
What counts as an undue hardship? This may be different under federal and state laws. Under state law, all relevant factors in determining whether an accommodation causes an employer an undue hardship can be considered, including the business or enterprise's size and budget, the nature of the operations that the business handles (including the composition of the work force), and the cost and nature of the accommodation that is needed.Contact a Disability Discrimination Lawyer in Westchester County
At Phillips & Associates, we help clients who have faced many forms of disability discrimination in Westchester County. If you believe that you have suffered from disability discrimination, you should contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form to set up a free consultation. We also represent clients in Yonkers, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, and White Plains.