Skip to content

Empowering Employee Equality: List of Rights of Disabled Persons

people-around-a-table-with-two-women-shaking-hands

Navigating the professional landscape can be challenging for anyone, but it often presents unique hurdles for employees with disabilities. Understanding the legal rights and protections in place is essential for both employees and employers to create an inclusive and supportive work environment. This blog looks into a list of rights of disabled persons that should be observed in any workplaces.

Legal Framework for Disability Rights

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the cornerstone of disability rights in the United States. Passed in 1990, the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places open to the general public.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Enacted with the intent to level the playing field for disabled individuals, the ADA features five titles, each addressing different aspects of public life. 

Title I: Employment

Under Title I, employers with 15 or more employees are prohibited from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities. This includes all aspects of employment, such as recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, social activities, and other privileges of employment. 

Employers must also provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees with disabilities, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or high expense for the employer.

Other Relevant Laws and Regulations

In addition to the ADA, other laws and regulations provide further protections for employees with disabilities. These include the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which applies to federal employees and contractors, and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which helps provide job training and other services to individuals with disabilities.

State and local governments have their own policies to enable the rights of employees with disabilities, in line with federal agencies. Local government services are part of their policies. These services include technical assistance, reasonable accommodations, and platforms for disabled individuals. 

List of Rights of Disabled Persons

list of rights of disabled persons

Equal Opportunity in Employment

Under the ADA, employees with disabilities are entitled to equal employment opportunities. Employers cannot discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities when it comes to any employment practices or terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

Confidentiality of Medical Information

Public and private employers are also required to keep any medical information they learn about an applicant or employee confidential. This includes information about physical or mental disabilities.

Protection from Harassment and Retaliation

The ADA protects employees with disabilities from harassment due to their disability. Harassment can include offensive remarks about a person’s disability. While the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that aren’t serious, harassment is illegal when it is frequent or severe enough that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision.

Moreover, employees with disabilities are protected from retaliation. This means that employers cannot penalize employees for asserting their rights under the ADA. Retaliation can include any negative job action, like a demotion, discipline, firing, salary reduction, or shift reassignment.

Accessible Workplace Environment

Under the ADA, employers are required to ensure that all facilities are made accessible. This means that employers may need to modify their facilities or provide certain aids to enable employees with disabilities to perform their jobs. These requirements apply to the physical work environment, communication tools, and digital assets like websites and software.

Reasonable Accommodations Through the ADA

list of rights of disabled persons - what companies should observe

One of the key points of the ADA is the requirement for employers to provide reasonable accommodations. But what exactly does this mean, and what might it look like in the workplace?

Definition and Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

A reasonable accommodation is any adjustment made to the work environment or routine procedures that allows an employee with a disability to have access to the same benefits as other employees.

Examples of reasonable accommodations can include:

  • Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible
  • Job restructuring, modifying work schedules, and reassignment to a vacant position
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies, and providing qualified interpreters.

Process for Requesting Accommodations

Requesting reasonable accommodations is typically easy. If an employee needs a change or adjustment at work due to a medical condition, they must begin the process by making a request. The request does not have to be in writing, and the employee does not even have to make reference to the Americans with Disabilities Act or use the term “reasonable accommodation.”

Employer Responsibilities and Limitations

When an employee requests an accommodation, their employer is obligated to work with them to determine the nature of the needed modification. During this process, it is important to identify the specific limitations of the employee’s disability, as well as any appropriate accommodations that might be necessary to overcome them.

However, employers are not required to provide accommodations that would cause undue hardship. Undue hardship refers to an action that is significantly difficult or expensive when considered in light of factors, such as the company’s size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation.

Addressing Disability Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace can take many forms. For employees with disabilities, it’s crucial to understand what constitutes as discrimination and how to address it.

Recognizing and Addressing Discrimination in the Workplace

When a person with a disability is treated poorly due to their disability, it is considered discrimination. Also, evaluating an employee or applicant unfavorably because of their disability or the employer’s belief that the applicant or employee suffers from a permanent or substantial physical and mental disability is considered discrimination.

To address discrimination, employees should first try to resolve the issue internally, if possible. This could involve discussing the matter with a supervisor or filing a complaint through the company’s human resources department.

Preventing Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

Everyone has a role to play in preventing discrimination. A welcoming and respectful work environment is something that all employers should strive to provide. Training on disability rights, a strong anti-discrimination policy, and encouraging open dialogue are all ways to accomplish this.

Filing a Complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

If internal resolution is not possible or if discrimination continues, employees can file a complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC enforces the employment provisions of the ADA and can take action against employers that violate these provisions.

Promoting Disability Diversity in the Workplace

Many positive outcomes can result from an organization’s commitment to disability diversity. These include increased innovation, improved problem-solving skills, and an improved reputation.

Benefits of a Diverse Workforce

A diverse workforce brings a range of experiences, perspectives, and skills to the table. This can lead to more innovative solutions and improved decision-making. Moreover, a diverse workforce can help companies better understand and serve their diverse customer bases.

Strategies for Fostering an Inclusive Environment

Creating a welcoming workplace requires more than just doing what is required by law. It means encouraging a diverse workforce, treating everyone with dignity and fairness, and ensuring that everyone in the company feels like they belong.

Strategies can include providing diversity training, promoting inclusive communication, and ensuring that company policies and practices promote diversity and inclusion.

Involving Able-Bodied Employees in Promoting Disability Rights

Able-bodied employees play a crucial role in promoting the implementation of list of rights of disabled persons They can be allies by speaking up against discrimination and supporting their colleagues with disabilities.

Let Employees Exercise Their Rights With Ava

To sum up, creating an inclusive, diverse, and fair workplace requires both awareness of and support for employees’ rights related to disabilities. Whether you’re an employer or an employee, knowing the list of rights of disabled persons can help ensure that everyone has equal access to opportunities in the workplace.

Ava provides captioning services to aid Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees in enhancing communication within their work space. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The ADA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places open to the general public.

How does the ADA protect employees with disabilities?

The ADA protects employees with disabilities by prohibiting discrimination in all aspects of employment, requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations, ensuring the confidentiality of medical information, and protecting employees from harassment and retaliation.

What is a reasonable accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment or the way things are usually done that enables an individual with a disability to enjoy equal employment opportunities.

How can I request reasonable accommodation from my employer?

You can request a reasonable accommodation by informing your employer of your need for an adjustment or change at work due to a medical condition.

What are the employer’s responsibilities for providing accommodations?

Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer. Once a request is made, employers must engage in an interactive process to identify what, if any, accommodations should be provided.

How can I recognize disability discrimination in the workplace?

Disability discrimination involves treating a qualified individual with a disability unfavorably because of the disability. It can take many forms, including unfair treatment in hiring, promotions, job assignments, training, pay, and other employment practices.

What federal agency oversees the ADA?

The EEOC is responsible for upholding Title I of the ADA in the United States. Title I prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies, and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in applying for jobs, hiring, firing, and job training.

How do I file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)?

You can file a complaint with the EEOC by visiting their website and following the instructions for filing a charge of employment discrimination.

What are the consequences for employers who violate disability rights?

Employers that violate the list of rights of disabled persons can face legal action, including lawsuits and penalties enforced by the EEOC.

How can employers promote disability diversity in the workplace?

Employers can promote disability diversity by fostering a culture of inclusivity and respect, providing diversity training, promoting inclusive communication, and ensuring that company policies and practices promote diversity and inclusion.

What are some examples of reasonable accommodations?

Examples of reasonable accommodations can include making workplaces accessible, modifying work schedules, providing interpreters or technology, and restructuring jobs.

How can I create a more accessible workplace for employees with disabilities?

You can create a more accessible workplace by making physical modifications to the workplace, providing accessible technology, offering flexible work schedules, and promoting a culture of inclusivity.

How do I handle an employee’s request for accommodations?

When an employee requests accommodations, employers should engage in an interactive process to identify what, if any, accommodations should be provided.

Can an employer reject a request for reasonable accommodations?

Yes, employers can reject a request for reasonable accommodations if providing them would cause undue hardship.

What are the confidentiality requirements for employees’ medical information?

Employers are required to keep any medical information they learn about an applicant or employee confidential.

How can I address harassment or retaliation related to my disability?

If you experience harassment or retaliation related to your disability, you should report it to your supervisor or human resources department. If the issue is not resolved, you can file a complaint with the EEOC.

What other laws and regulations protect employees with disabilities?

In addition to the ADA, other laws and regulations that protect employees with disabilities include the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

How does the ADA define a disability?

The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

What are the key elements of an inclusive and diverse workplace?

Key elements of an inclusive and diverse workplace include respect for all employees, a culture of inclusivity, diversity training, inclusive communication, and company policies that promote diversity and inclusion.

How can employers and employees work together to promote disability rights?

Employers and employees can work together to promote the list of rights of disabled persons by fostering a culture of respect and inclusivity, supporting each other, speaking up against discrimination, and promoting open communication.

Are telephone and television access part of reasonable accommodations?

Yes, employees with disabilities should have access, especially when the work in which they are involved requires the use of these devices. Employees with hearing and speech disabilities will surely benefit from amplified volumes on telephones and closed captions on television displays.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *