A disability can strike anyone, at any age. In fact, it’s estimated that around 40 million Americans struggle with some form of mental or physical disability. Many of those people are working despite their impairments — but they don’t always have an easy time finding acceptance in the workforce.
Disability discrimination is never acceptable — but people don’t always realize the varied forms that disability discrimination can take. Since you can’t combat something you don’t recognize, it’s time to discuss three different types of discrimination you may encounter if you’re disabled:
1. Direct discrimination
This occurs when you’re clearly treated differently than other employees because of your disability. For example, it might include a situation where you’re denied a position in the front of the office because you’re in a wheelchair and management thinks that you somehow don’t project the “right image” for the company.
2. Indirect discrimination
This happens when a rule or practice seems, on the surface, to apply equally to everyone — but it has the net effect of disadvantaging someone with a disability unfairly. For example, an employer requires all job applications to be submitted through an online portal in order to be considered but the portal’s software isn’t compatible with screen-reading software used by the visually impaired.
3. Failure to accommodate
Employers generally have a responsibility to make reasonable accommodations when an employee has a disability. Exactly what is “reasonable” may vary and depends heavily on the nature of the disability and the type of work involved. An example might include something like an employer who refuses to give a parking space close to the office to an employee with mobility issues because those are reserved for employees with seniority.
If you’ve been victimized by discrimination in the workplace, take action. Contact our office or explore our site further for more information.