What is Disability Discrimination in the Workplace?

Jan 3 2018

The increased awareness of sexual harassment and misconduct that swept the country in 2017 is an overwhelmingly positive development for Connecticut’s employees. However, if the #MeToo movement has a downside, it is that it threatens to overshadow other forms of employment discrimination that remain all too common. One type of discrimination that doesn’t receive the same coverage as sexual harassment is disability discrimination.

Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee differently because that employee is actually disabled, is perceived as being disabled, or is associated with someone (such as a family member) who is disabled. Both federal law (the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act) and Connecticut law (the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act) prohibit disability discrimination.

Contrary to popular belief, not every employee with a medical condition is legally “disabled.” In order to qualify as disabled under federal or Connecticut law, an employee must have a physical or mental condition that is not transitory and that substantially limits a major life activity (such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or learning); or she must have a history of such a disability (such as cancer that is in remission). In addition, to qualify for legal protection, the employee must able to perform the essential functions of her job — that is, to do the tasks the job requires — with or without the assistance of a reasonable accommodation.

Federal and Connecticut law prohibit disability discrimination in all aspects of employment. Employees cannot be refused a job or promotion or terminated because of their disabilities. Employers also cannot harass employees or allow employees to be harassed because of their disabilities. This is often referred to as the creation of a “hostile work environment.”

Separately, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act also require employers to provide “reasonable accommodations” to disabled workers, so that the workers can perform their jobs. A reasonable accommodation might include a different sort of computer monitor, keyboard, or mouse, or a program that allows an employee to dictate. Whether an accommodation is “reasonable” is case specific and fact dependent. What might be reasonable in one situation is not reasonable in another. For more information on examples of reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, visit the Office of Disability Rights.

If you have been subjected to termination, demotion, or harassment because of your disability, you have rights. No one should face unequal treatment because of their disability. Contact the employment discrimination attorneys at Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C., today. We are here to fight for you.

Share this Post

Disability Discrimination

About the Author

Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C.

You deserve justice. We are here to fight for you.

Best Lawyers

Let Us Review Your Case

    We will respond to your message promptly. Although we will keep your message strictly confidential, please note that contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.

    Client Experiences

    During a very difficult employment situation, I was referred to Joe Garrison. Recognizing the volatile and time sensitive nature of my employment situation, Mr. Garrison met with me immediately (on the weekend no less). He listened to the details of my case, was able to think through possible creative solutions to offer the employer, and was responsive to my myriad of questions. He understood my concerns about litigation versus settlement, and he worked to find the best resolution possible. I am grateful to have had his support at a very difficult time. —J.C., New Haven, CT

    You will never meet a more knowledgeable and compassionate professional than Steve Fitzgerald. My employment situation was very complex, and Attorney Fitzgerald kept me focused while remaining extremely adept and “thinking on his feet.” Should the need present itself again, I would never seek anyone else’s counsel regarding employment issues. I cannot recommend him highly enough. — J.R., New Haven, CT

    Nina Pirrotti provided outstanding legal advice and was trustworthy, dependable, and responsive. From the start, I was confident that her knowledge and experience would obtain favorable results. On a more personal note, I enjoyed working with her and her staff and felt I was included in every part of the process. The dedication, concern, and interest in me as a client was greatly appreciated, and Nina has earned my highest recommendation. — J.H., Monroe, CT

    I recently found myself in need of a lawyer in handling a dispute with my former employer. I was fortunate to retain Josh Goodbaum as my legal counsel. His legal skills knowledge and professionalism shone through in every step of the process resulting in a very positive result. I highly recommend Josh if you find yourself in need of legal counsel. — S.R., Guilford, CT

    When I go to a lawyer for advice, I am usually anxious, particularly the first meeting. Amanda DeMatteis was clear in describing my options and immediately set me at ease. Realistic assessment is important, and Amanda was clear as to how to set up the case and the direction she felt we should go. I had total confidence in her abilities and knew I was being well represented against a large corporation. More importantly, we were successful! —N.M., Haddam, CT

    Proven Results & Personalized Attention When You Need It Most

    American Law Institute Super Lawyers American College of Trial Lawyers Best Lawyers The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
    Back to Top
    (203) 815-1716