A disability is a medical condition that significantly affects your ability to perform normal activities on a long-term basis. As a discrimination lawyer in Washington, D.C. from a firm like Eric Siegel Law can explain, disabilities can be physical or mental. Disability discrimination occurs when people are treated unfairly because of their physical or mental limitations. Discrimination on the basis of disability can affect your ability to find work or do your job, find a place to live, enjoy certain events, shop in stores, or receive governmental services. Disability discrimination may take several different forms.
Harassment involves antagonistic behavior, such as taunting and teasing, that you receive on account of your disability. Unfortunately, you may experience harassment anywhere, and if the incidents are isolated, it is difficult to do anything about it. However, persistent harassment at work on account of your disability can produce a hostile work environment, which is against the law.
2. Failure To Make Reasonable Accommodations
This is another type of primarily workplace discrimination. Your employer has a responsibility to make any reasonable accommodation for you that allows you to do your job. Examples may include ramps to enter the building or ergonomic computer keyboards. If your employer can provide such accommodations without undue hardship and just refuses to do so, it is a form of disability discrimination.
3. Direct Discrimination
Direct discrimination occurs when you receive worse treatment than others because of your disability. Unlike harassment, there may not be any real malice behind the treatment, but unreasonable restrictions are placed on you because of your disability, and you are not given the same choices that nondisabled people have in the same situation. An example may be a business that refuses business to an individual with a physical or developmental disability or doesn’t allow him or her into areas of the building where nondisabled people are allowed to go.
4. Indirect Discrimination
Indirect discrimination occurs when an organization makes a decision or has a policy in place that has an unequal negative impact on people with disabilities. It is different from direct discrimination in that there is no conscious decision to treat disabled people differently. Instead, the motivation may be a desire to save money. However, the end result may be that people with disabilities do not have access to the same services or information.
In most cases, the law requires employers, government entities, and places of business to treat people with disabilities equally and to make premises, information, and services accessible to everyone. If you have experienced discrimination on the basis of a disability, one of our attorneys may be able to help.