Disability Accommodations

Labor & Employment Law

Disability Accommodations

If you have been denied reasonable accommodations at work, you need experienced disability accommodations lawyers on your side. Sass Law Firm boasts disability discrimination who represent Tampa Bay employees in disability accommodations and discrimination lawsuits.  

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) is the federal law that prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against employees based on:

  1. An actual disability:
  2. A record of disability; and/or
  3. A perceived disability.

These protections include an employer’s obligation to provide employees with reasonable accommodations in the workplace for their disabilities. The Florida Civil Rights Act has similar protections. If you are a federal employee, you are not covered by the ADA, but you have similar protections under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Local county or city ordinances may also offer protections for smaller workforces.

If you work for a covered employer, you have a disability, and you can perform the essential functions of your job or the job you applied for with or without an accommodation, then you are protected under the law. 

What is a disability under the ADA entitled to accommodations?

The ADA defines a disability as a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include walking, seeing, hearing, concentrating, and thinking. Major life activities can also include impairments that affect bodily systems, like the immune system, cardiac, endocrinology, and more.  Disability laws also protect persons with a history of or pre-existing disability, such as cancer in remission or heart problems. 

Does my employer have to accommodate my disability?

If you have an actual disability and/or a record of a disability as defined under the ADA, you are entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace, so long as providing the accommodation does not cause the employer an undue hardship.  Examples of reasonable accommodations can include:

  • Speech recognition software
  • Special computer equipment or headsets
  • Frequent breaks
  • Wheelchair accessibility
  • Flexible work schedule
  • Job reassignment
  • Remote working
  • Leave of absence

In determining accommodation requests, your employer has an obligation to engage in the interactive process—or an ongoing discussion with you—about your accommodation requests.  Keep in mind, though, that you are not entitled to your preferred accommodation. Employers can provide alternative accommodations, so long as the accommodation is equally effective.

Can my employer share my medical information?

The ADA requires employers to keep employee medical information confidential and in separate files. If an employer unnecessarily shares or discloses your medical information to others, this violates the law.  

Can I be fired if I have a disability?

It is illegal for an employer to wrongfully terminate or take other adverse action against an employee because of his/her disability, history of disability or a perceived disability. However, an employee can still be fired for disciplinary issues, or any other non-discriminatory reason.

What if my employer fails to accommodate my disability?

It violates the law if an employer refuses to reasonably accommodate your disability in the absence of a demonstrated undue burden.  What constitutes an undue burden depends on a variety of factors. If you believe you have been denied an accommodation, contact Sass Law Firm to evaluate your situation and fight for your rights.

Am I protected from retaliation?

An employer cannot terminate you or take other adverse action because you requested reasonable accommodations, complained about or opposed disability discrimination in the workplace, or pursued your claims for disability discrimination.  But the reality is that retaliation still happens, which is why it is important for employees to understand their rights and have experienced disability accommodations attorneys to represent your interests. 

How to pursue an ADA violation?

The law requires you to first file with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 300 days of when you knew or should have known that the employer denied you accommodations or retaliated against you. Florida state law gives you 365 days from when you knew or should have known of the discrimination to file with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. After the agency investigates your claims, you will have the right to file a lawsuit (or in some cases an administrative hearing). The attorneys at Sass Law Firm can assist you each step of the way. 

What damages can I recover?

If you successfully prove the employer discriminated against you, failed to accommodate you and/or retaliated against you after requesting accommodations or opposing discrimination, you are entitled to a variety of both monetary and non-monetary damages:

  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Reinstatement to your position if you were terminated or front pay instead of reinstatement
  • Compensatory and punitive damages, subject to caps based on employer size
  • An injunction to stop the discrimination or retaliation
  • Reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs

Sass Law Firm has experienced disability accommodations lawyers here to help if you have been denied a reasonable accommodation or suffered retaliation after requesting reasonable accommodations.  

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