In 2020, according to statistics published by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), 2,130 residents of Ohio filed charges of discrimination at work. Of these, 825 – or nearly 40 percent – were charges based on disability discrimination.
Both state and federal statutes protect employees with disabilities from being discriminated against. The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and the more expansive Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 offer broad protections. Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 4112, mirrors these protections in the state.
If you feel you’ve been discriminated against at work due to your disability, contact Duwel Law. Our employment discrimination attorneys will listen to your story, investigate, and advise you of your legal options to achieve the best available remedy. Reach out to us if you’re near Dayton or anywhere in the counties of Montgomery, Miami, Greene, Drake, or Warren.
The ADA defines disability as any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The ADA does not specifically name all the impairments that are covered.
The ADA also extends its protections to those who are only “regarded as” having a disability, and also to employees associated with a disabled person, such as a spouse or family member. Persons with a history of disability but no current limitations are also covered.
The ADA covers businesses with 15 or more employees, as well as state and local government entities, while Ohio state law covers employers with 4 or more employees.
Ohio defines disability discrimination as including, but not limited to, “segregating or separating, according different treatment, or taking actions fair in form but which have a disparate impact, on the basis of membership in a protected class."
The ADA extends discrimination protections to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, hiring, firing, training, job assignments, promotions, pay, benefits, leave, and all other job-related activities. If a disabled employee, for instance, is passed over for a promotion solely based on their disabled status, that is discrimination.
The ADA requires employers to provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations. Reasonable accommodations can range from making an office space more user-friendly for someone with a disability to enabling features on computers and electronic devices that can read what’s on the screen. Dedicated parking, flexible work schedules, adjusting job tasks, and changing training materials are also examples.
The employer is required to offer a reasonable accommodation unless it poses an “undue hardship,” which may mean changes to the physical location may be too drastic, costly, or too disruptive to the other employees.
Even if a reasonable accommodation falls under the undue hardship exemption, the employer is still required to continue an “interactive dialogue” with the disabled employee to arrive at an acceptable accommodation.
Before you can proceed to a federal lawsuit, a disabled employee who has been discriminated against must file a charge with the EEOC. Timeliness is of the essence. The EEOC provides a 180-day window after the act has occurred, but for states like Ohio, which have anti-disability discrimination laws on the books, the window is extended to 300 days.
The EEOC will investigate and attempt to resolve the case for you, but if not, it will issue you a right-to-sue notice. You can also request a right-to-sue authorization even while the investigation is ongoing.
If you feel you’ve been discriminated against because of a disability or been denied a reasonable accommodation at work, contact Duwel Law immediately. Our disability discrimination lawyers have the experience and resources to investigate your situation and advise you of your rights and your legal path forward. We will work with you to seek a brighter future at your place of employment. If you live in Dayton, Cincinnati, or Columbus, get in touch with us today.