“Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn’t mean he lacks vision.” —Stevie Wonder If you have a disability and are qualified to do a job, there are both federal and state laws protecting you from workplace discrimination and harassment on the basis of your disability. An individual is considered “disabled” if he or she has a physical (or mental) limitation that limits a “major life activity” such as walking, talking, concentrating, working, seeing, and learning. These discrimination laws also protect people who are not disabled but are perceived to be disabled in certain situations. Discriminating on the basis of physical or mental disability can and does occur in various aspects of employment:
- Recruitment, firing, hiring, training, job assignments, promotions, pay, benefits, lay off, leave and all other employment-related activities
- Harassing an employee on the basis of his or her disability
- Asking job applicants questions about their past or current medical conditions, or requiring job applicants to take medical exams
- Creating or maintaining a workplace that includes substantial barriers to the movement of people with physical disabilities
- Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees with physical or mental disability that would allow them to work.