If you have a long-term impairment that impacts your ability to perform certain tasks, you may face discrimination in the workplace. While there are laws in place to protect workers with disabilities, disability discrimination is still a problem. Being on the receiving end of discriminatory behavior or practices can drain you emotionally and financially. 

As a disabled worker, it is important for you to understand the laws that protect you and what to do about illegal practices at your job. Here is a guide to help you determine whether you are a victim of discrimination because of your health condition.  

What is disability discrimination?

Discrimination can take many forms throughout the application, employment and termination processes. At its core, discrimination is treating workers unfairly. Here is what an employer may do that could constitute discrimination:

  • Refusing to recruit, hire, train, assign jobs, promote, provide benefits to or pay an individual because of a disability.
  • Inquiring about medical conditions or requesting medical exams of job applicants.
  • Harassing a worker because of a disability.
  • Failing to provide a reasonable accommodation for a worker with a disability.
  • Taking disciplinary action, such as firing or laying off an employee, because of a disability. 
  • Refusing to provide medical leave because of a disability.
  • Promoting another worker even though a disabled worker is more qualified for the position.

Disability discrimination can be subtle and overt.

What laws protect me?

Thankfully, there are plenty of legal protections for you. These include:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The Rehabilitation Act
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act

These laws ensure that you are entitled to fair treatment in the workplace. They outlaw unfair work situations and harassment and give you the right to reasonable accommodations. 

If you experience prejudice or intolerance because of a physical or mental condition, you must consider whether you are the recipient of unlawful behavior. Legal action may be necessary.