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Disability Discrimination

Employment discrimination based on a disability is prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits all employers from discriminating against qualified individuals on the basis of disability. The ADA specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability with respect to hiring, firing, compensation, and other terms and conditions of employment (such as employee benefits). Accordingly, an employer cannot fire or refuse to hire you based on a disability.

Definition of Disability

Under the ADA, “disability” is defined rather broadly as:

  • A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  • A record of such an impairment, or
  • Being regarded as having such an impairment.

Discrimination Based on Relationship With Disabled Person Also Prohibited

Additionally, the ADA prohibits discrimination based on a person’s relationship with a person with a disability, even if he or she does not have a disability. For instance, an employer may not discriminate against an employee whose husband has heart disease or whose child has cerebral palsy.

Retaliatory Discharge Prohibited

The ADA also makes it unlawful for an employer to retaliate against persons who oppose employment practices that discriminate based on having a disability, filing a discrimination charge, or participating in any way in an ADA investigation or legal proceeding. Similarly, an employee cannot be harassed because he or she has a disability, had a disability in the past, or is believed to have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory.

Reasonable Accommodations

In order to be protected by the provisions of the ADA, a person with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of the job either with or without reasonable accommodation, unless the reasonable accommodation would pose an “undue hardship” on the employer’s business. When considering what constitutes undue hardship, courts will consider employer’s size, financial resources, and the kind of business being conducted.

Other Discrimination Laws

Under federal law, including the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans With Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, employers are prohibited from terminating an employee or choosing not to hire or promote a person based solely on the fact that the individual falls into one of the following “protected classes:”

State and federal anti-discrimination laws provide remedies for employees who report an employer’s illegal discrimination. Remedies for reporting employment discrimination based on race may include back pay, front pay, reinstatement of employment position, damages for emotional distress, punitive damages, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

How Can We Help?

The Chicago employment discrimination law firm of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca focuses on representing plaintiffs in employment discrimination based on disability, as well as discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, age, or gender. As experienced Chicago employment attorneys, we also have considerable experience representing employees in connection with claims based on wrongful termination, Family Medical Leave Act violations and wage and overtime violations.

Contact the skilled Chicago employment lawyers at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca at 312-724-5846 to schedule a consultation if you suspect that you have suffered employment discrimination based on disability.