Employers may not discriminate against a person based on their disability status. This means that from the application process all the way through to the end of their time working with them, employers must treat their disabled workers with the same respect and equality as their other employees. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Whether out of avoidance or ignorance, some employers fail to provide the treatment and accommodations their employees deserve and require.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990 and applies to all those who have a qualifying disability. While the ADA does not provide a comprehensive list of all disabilities that fall under its jurisdiction, the goal of the act was to ensure that individuals with disabilities could not legally be separated and isolated from the rest of society. This meant making discrimination illegal based on someone’s inability to engage in the same physical and/or mental activities as anyone else.
What Is Disability Discrimination?
Any time a person is unfairly treated based on their disability status, they are a victim of discrimination. In the case of the ADA, businesses are required to make reasonable accommodations for those who have disabilities. For example, all businesses must be wheelchair accessible in order to be ADA compliant. This ensures that no businesses can accidentally prohibit a person with a physical handicap from entering their public premises.
While some accommodations are mandatory, not all requests for accommodations must be honored. For example, if you built a building before 1990, you would not be required to retrofit its entire structure to be compliant—only those which are considered “readily achievable.”
All kinds of businesses are required to be ADA-compliant, including:
- Bars and restaurants
- Auditoriums and concert halls
- Gymnasiums and sporting areas
- Theaters and stadiums
- Shopping centers
Making Websites ADA-Compliant
Because the internet is such a prominent source of information in today’s world, laws surrounding compliance apply here too. Standards have now been implemented to ensure that all websites are able to be read by speech programs that scan web pages for text and read them to users. There are also contrast requirements to ensure that all readable text is written in the most legible way possible.
Websites are also now required to make accommodations for those with disabilities readily available. For example, if you needed to book a hotel room that met your disability needs, that room would need to be available to be reserved in the same online portal as all the other hotel rooms.
Protecting Disabled Workers’ Rights
Being disabled does not make someone less capable of fulfilling work requirements. While most employers try to adhere to laws by making all hiring decisions based on ability rather than physical or mental characteristics, some companies fail to treat individuals with disabilities with the respect they deserve.
Disability discrimination can take the form of:
- Unequal pay
- Harassment based on a disability
- Refusal to make reasonable accommodations
- Hiring and promotion decisions based on a person’s disability
If you have a business, it is in your best interests to ensure you practice ADA compliance. For more information on how to do so, contact an experienced Boca Raton employment lawyer.