If you are an employee working with a disability, you need to know what your rights entail. Federal and state laws protect you from discrimination and require your employer to take steps to accommodate your disability in many situations. However, if you do not understand your rights or how to enforce them, the protections enacted for your benefit often provide no help at all.
Many employees in Georgia find it helpful to work with an employment disability discrimination lawyer when seeking fair treatment in the workplace. An experienced employment attorney at The Leach Firm, P.A. can review your situation for potential legal violations and fight to get you fair compensation or other legal remedies.
What are the Legal Protections for Disabled Workers in Georgia?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) , bolstered by subsequent amendments and Georgia laws, requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities. Essentially, these laws prohibit employers from unfairly discriminating against workers with disabilities and establish standards to help ensure that disabled employees have the same opportunities as others on the job.
Discrimination can take many different forms, and employees who face discrimination because of a disability may not realize that they have received unlawful treatment. Examples of unfair discrimination could include:
- Failing to promote an employee with partial hearing loss because impaired speech was perceived as a drawback, even though job requirements are exclusively written
- Refusing to hire someone who is in remission from cancer out of fear that they might need to take time off in the future
- Persistently making or allowing unwelcome jokes at the expense of an employee with intellectual disabilities so that it interferes with the ability to perform the job
- Giving an unjustified poor review to an employee in retaliation after the employee took action to enforce legal rights under the ADA
- Terminating an employee who was capable of performing a primary job function such as answering phones because a disability prevented them from easily doing some extra job functions such as moving file boxes
A knowledgeable employment disability attorney may help determine whether an employee’s treatment could be considered unlawful discrimination.
Employers in Georgia Must Provide Reasonable Accommodation
In addition to the duty to avoid discrimination, employers also have a responsibility under the law to provide “reasonable” accommodation. Reasonable accommodation allows an employee with disabilities to perform their job. Examples of reasonable accommodation are:
- An employer might need to provide a closer parking space for an employee with mobility issues
- An employer might need to provide a computer with voice capabilities for a visually impaired employee
Employers who fail to make a good faith effort to find a solution to a problem could be held liable.
What Qualifies as a Disability Under the Law?
In most cases, the employment disability laws protect workers with current disabilities, those with a history of a disability, and those perceived to have a disability even if they do not. Under the ADA, a disability is any “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” This is a much broader definition of disability than in other laws, such as those pertaining to disability benefits through Social Security.
Employers in Georgia are required to accommodate workers who have a condition that prevents them from doing basic activities such as standing, bending, or speaking. Workers with an ailment that impairs bodily functions such as bladder control or digestion are also protected from discrimination and should receive reasonable accommodation.
Work with an Experienced Georgia Employment Disability Lawyer
If you have suffered because of illegal discrimination in the workplace or your employer refuses to provide reasonable accommodation for a disability, you may be eligible for various forms of legal relief. Legal remedies could include compensation, reinstatement, or a promotion. An experienced employment disability lawyer at the Leach Firm, P.A., can explain your options and fight for fair treatment in Georgia; contact us for a free, confidential consultation.