Many people know that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees from suffering discrimination due to disabilities in the workplace. But what does that really mean? When an employee is facing discrimination, he or she may have questions about who is covered by the ADA and what constitutes a "disability" under the act. This post aims to answer some of those common questions.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers in Florida and throughout the country are required to offer reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. This might mean a number of things. For example, a reasonable accommodation might mean that an employee will be put on light duty or be relieved of certain duties. It might mean that a worker will be offered certain tools or equipment. Another reasonable accommodation may be transferring an employee who becomes disabled into a vacant position for which he or she is suited.
A South Florida hospital system has been sued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for allegedly discriminating against a physician. The Miami-based Baptist Health South Florida is accused of practicing disability discrimination by refusing to honor a reasonable scheduling request from a doctor who has a disability.
In Florida, and throughout the country, one type of discrimination that is outlawed in employment is age discrimination. Age discrimination takes place when a job applicant or an employee receives unfavorable treatment because of his or her age. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act specifically prohibits employers from discriminating against workers who are 40 or older. Unfortunately, this still does sometimes occur, but when it does employees do have the right to pursue legal action.
As we have frequently discussed in this Broward County Employment Law Blog, it is illegal for employers to make employment decisions on the basis of discrimination. Among the types of discrimination that are outlawed is disability discrimination. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees as well as job applicants who are disabled, are regarded as disabled or have a record of disability.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, workers with health conditions here in South Florida cannot be discriminated against in the workplace. Rather, in most cases, their employers must make accommodations as needed. Of course, employers do not always comply with the ADA and this results in very unnecessary and difficult consequences for employees.
Many South Florida residents may not be aware of exactly what The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does. The federal government agency is actually responsible for enforcing the laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee because of his or her race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.
Americans are protected from experiencing discrimination, sexual harassment or retaliation in the workplace under federal and state laws. Employees who feel their rights have been violated at work have the right to seek legal recourse.