Employment Discrimination Law – Protection for Those Who Need It

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Employment discrimination law in the disabilites arena isn’t easy law to practise, as there are (as with just about every other area of law in this discipline) so many variations on what each supposed definition means. Even just starting with the definition of who is an individual with a disability under employment discrimination law. Supposedly, a person with a disability is one who has a physical/mental impairment that really limits one or more of life’s major activities etc. Major life activities are defined as things an average person can do without too much difficulty -walking, breathing, seeing, hearing, working, etc.

Under employment discrimination law you must look to the definition of what a qualified person with a disability is. They must be someone first and foremost that has the necessary skills, education or job experience and who can perform the work in question. The next component of this requirement is that they can perform the job with or without reasonable accommodation.

What is reasonable accomodation defined as under employment discrimination law? It can include making facilities accessible for people with disabilities, job restructing, a modified work timetable, extra unpaid leave, modifying equipment/devices and/or having qualified readers/interpreters on hand. As an employer complying with employment discrimination law, you are not required to lower production standards to make an accommodation, nor are you expected to provide personal use items (eyeglasses, hearing aids etc.)
Now having discussed accommodation provisions, there is a sort of exemption built into this area for employers. Although they are required to make reasonable accommodations for a qualified candidate, they are not obligated to do that if it would cause undue hardship on the operation of the employer’s business.

So in effect, undue hardship means something that causes significant difficulty or exprense when compared to things like the size of the business, their financial status and its operation/structure. This unfortunately seems to have the earmarks of a loophole that could be used by employers to subtly discriminate.

No matter what the reasons you feel you have been discriminated against, it is important to always check the existing statutes and case law prior to making a final decision on whether or not to file a complaint.

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