Disabled workers in Pennsylvania may be protected by both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA). Pursuant to these laws, an employer cannot act adversely against an employee because the employee has an actual or a perceived disability. In addition, an employer must make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees.
Adverse Actions Based on a Real or Perceived Disability
In order to have a valid claim for disability discrimination in Pennsylvania an employee must have a disability as defined by the ADA. An employee may qualify as disabled under the ADA if the employee (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity; and (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is perceived, or regarded as, having such an impairment.
Major life activities include functions such as seeing, walking, hearing, breathing, learning, performing manual tasks, working, thinking, sitting, standing, and bending, among many others. Examples of conditions that may limit a major life activity can be epilepsy, HIV, deafness, vision loss, and loss of or serious impairments in the use of limbs.
In order to have a claim for discrimination for a perceived disability an employee does not have to actually have such impairment. An employer only needs to have taken adverse action against an individual whom the employer believes to have a disability or impairment of a major life activity.
An employee may have suffered an adverse action if he/she has been fired, demoted, not hired, passed over for a promotion, or been denied job training because of an actual or perceived disability. An employer also cannot discriminate against a disabled, or perceived as disabled, employee in the areas of compensation and benefits. Adverse action may also be harassment by management because of an actual or perceived disability such that it impedes an employee’s ability to perform their job, or retaliation by an employer because an employee complained about such harassment or disability discrimination.
If you have experienced any of the actions described above, you may be the victim of disability discrimination.
An employee who is qualified for a position, meaning that the employee can perform the essential functions of his/her job, can request that an employer make reasonable measures to accommodate the employee’s disability. Once an employee requests an accommodation the employer is required by law to work with the employee to determine the extent of the disability and assess the accommodation request.
What is “reasonable” can depend upon each unique situation; however, examples of reasonable accommodations may include a larger computer monitor, an ergonomic work station, modified shifts or hours and modified tasks. If an employee requests a reasonable accommodation for their disability, and the employer refuses to provide the accommodation, or works against the employee in the attempt to acquire the accommodation, the employee may be a victim of disability discrimination.
Contact The Ezold Law Firm Regarding Philadelphia Disability Discrimination in Your Workplace
If you believe that you have experienced discrimination based on a real or perceived disability, or if you have been denied a reasonable accommodation for your disability, contact the experienced employment discrimination attorneys in Philadelphia at The Ezold Law Firm, P.C. Call our office at (610) 660-5585 or fill out our Quick Contact Form. Our experienced attorneys are committed to client satisfaction and obtaining outstanding results in the field of employment law.