Lawyers at Leeds Brown, focusing on workplace discrimination claims in New York, understand that discrimination and harassment can take many forms. There are several federal, state and local laws that prohibit disability discrimination and harassment in employment. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination because of a person’s real or perceived disability.
The vast majority of anti-discrimination laws, including the ADA, apply to businesses with 15 or more employees. State laws addressing disability discrimination sometimes cover even smaller companies and, therefore, protect more employees. In New York, for example, businesses with 4 or more employees must abide by New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) prohibiting workplace discrimination.
If you have a disability and think you may be experiencing discrimination at work, you should consult with the attorneys at Leeds Brown who dedicate part of their practice to disability discrimination in the workplace. Our Firm has decades of experience helping clients on Long Island, in New York State, and across the nation to understand their rights and their employers’ responsibilities under the ADA.
We can answer the questions employees inevitably have when they face discrimination. What do I do? Who should I notify? How can I prove it? Can I be fired? Do I have options? You are not alone. Leeds Brown has attorneys who can compassionately guide you through the complex world of discrimination claims, toward the successful resolution you want.
Disability discrimination cases differ. Every employee has unique skills, attributes and limitations and every employer has personal perceptions and specific job requirements. When you combine the number of workers with disabilities and the number of employers, the possibilities for conflict appear endless.
Employment attorneys, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the New York State Division of Human Rights (NYSDHR) review workplace discrimination claims on a case by case basis, but the ADA sets forth several rules and definitions that are relevant to ALL charges of disability discrimination. The ADA states that an employer may not discriminate against a qualified person with a disability if that person can perform the essential functions of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation. Some specific key points in the ADA are:
Leeds Brown legal professionals, concentrating their practice on disability discrimination in the workplace, can help you understand what your rights and options are under the ADA. We can determine whether your disability and employment situation qualify you for an accommodation and if you have the right to file a charge with the EEOC, a complaint with the NYSDHR or pursue a lawsuit.
Consulting with a disability discrimination lawyer is recommended if you lose an employment opportunity or job because of your disability. But, if you are actively employed, there may be things you can try to prevent a discriminatory employment situation from arising or continuing.
Assert Your Rights
Open communication can go a long way toward resolving a conflict. Speak up and be sure your employer knows about your disability and how it affects you. Many employees and employers are unsure about what the ADA requires. Your employer may be more than willing to do some research and work with you toward an accommodation. Remember, if you are qualified to do the essential functions of your job, your employer must provide reasonable accommodation.
**For example, let’s say your manager is considering your application for a promotion, but the job requires a lot of driving. He thinks your wheelchair inhibits your ability to travel by company car. You can speak with your manager and explain that you have a fully equipped vehicle that enables you to travel long distances. Perhaps your manager will reconsider your promotion and will accommodate you by allowing you to drive your personal vehicle (and provide reimbursement) or modifying a company vehicle, enabling you to drive it.
Similarly, if your co-workers are harassing you, speak to them, your supervisor or someone else and he or she may promptly stop the offensive behavior. If not, keep records of every discriminatory incident including the people involved, the specific action, time, date, and location.
File a Formal Internal Complaint
If you are unable to resolve your conflict, the next step may be to file a formal complaint with the company. Filing a formal complaint serves essentially two purposes:
** It gives the company an opportunity to fix the problem. Your supervisor may be unresponsive or unfamiliar with the legal requirements the ADA imposes on employers. But your supervisor’s boss or another company executive may be able to recognize that the circumstances warrant strict ADA compliance. Filing an internal complaint essentially gives the employer an opportunity to do the right thing.
**Filing a formal complaint also lets your company know that if they do not resolve the issue, you may file legal action. The internal complaint serves as evidence that your employer knew about the problem and did not take appropriate steps to remedy the situation.
Make a claim through the EEOC and/or NYSDHR
If your employer does not resolve your matter, you can file a discrimination charge with the EEOC and/or a discrimination complaint with the NYSDHR. These are federal and states agencies that receive and investigate allegations of disability discrimination under the ADA and the NYSHRL. They may contact your employer, conduct an investigation, attempt to mediate the case and make a determination. If the parties cannot settle their issues, the EEOC may issue a notice of the right to sue, and you will be able to proceed with a federal lawsuit if you choose. You must file a charge with the EEOC first, to preserve your right to file a lawsuit in federal court. New York State court actions may also be available to you.
There are time limits for filing a charge. At this stage, you should consider speaking with lawyers at Leeds Brown, who have vast experience with workplace disability discrimination cases in New York. We can tell you how much time you have left to file your claim and ensure prompt processing. If you do not file a timely charge with the EEOC, you may lose the right to file a federal lawsuit and to collect damages and other remedies from your employer.
Contact Leeds Brown at any stage of your disability discrimination matter to learn about your employer’s obligations under the ADA and NYSHRL and what you can expect in the workplace. Remember, time may be of the essence so act quickly to preserve your rights.
Our firm’s seasoned professionals dedicate themselves to ensuring that you receive fair and equal treatment under federal and state laws and will work tirelessly to secure the best outcome you deserve. Our hands-on, team-based approach means that you receive outstanding, personal service from attorneys who care deeply about clients and making the workplace free from disability discrimination.
We have someone in our office to take your call 24/7 because we understand that you may need us at any time. Call lawyers who can help you with your workplace discrimination claim, the American’s with Disabilities Act, and all other employment discrimination issues you may have. Call Leeds Brown today for a free consultation at 1-800-585-4658.