While most employers understand and appreciate the necessity of treating their employees with respect and dignity, the unfortunate truth is that there are some that simply fail -- or even refuse -- to abide by this otherwise vital tenet.
Indeed, as we've often discussed on our blog before, this treatment sometimes crosses the line into being discriminatory, unfairly targeting workers on the basis of their age, race, gender or disability to name only a few.
Fortunately, federal law is designed to not only hold employers accountable for these sorts of actions, but also provide employees with significant protection.
To illustrate, consider the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of an employee's disability and requires them to make reasonable accommodations.
It's important to understand, however, that the protections provided by the ADA don't end there, as it also sets very firm limits concerning the sorts of disability-related inquiries or medical exams that can be requested of disabled employees.
For instance, employers cannot make any disability-related inquiries or requests for any medical exams prior to extending a job offer to any disabled applicant. Indeed, such inquiries and requests for exams are only permitted under the ADA once an offer of employment is extended but before employment commences.
Once employment commences, disability-related inquiries or requests for any medical exams are only legally permissible where 1) they are related to the job and 2) they are consistent with the needs of the business.
What all of this serves to underscore is that employees have extensive protection against workplace discrimination, including some of which they might not be entirely aware. In light of this reality, it's imperative that anyone who suspects they were victimized by discrimination in any capacity to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.