Disabled employees have legal rights. Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil, LLC, aggressively advocates for disabled employees. We are committed to achieving a fair workplace for any disabled employee and obtaining damages for those injured by illegal workplace practices. There are both federal and state laws that protect employees from being discriminated against in the workplace on the basis of a disability. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against a qualified individual on the basis of disability in regard to the recruitment, hiring, advancement, firing, employee compensation, job training and other terms, conditions and privileges of employment. In addition, Title I of the ADA imposes an affirmative obligation on behalf of the employer to provide protected individuals with reasonable accommodations.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits employers and organizations who receive federal financial assistance from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability. Title II of the ADA extends the protections afforded to individuals with disabilities under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by protecting qualified individuals with disabilities from being excluded or denied benefits of the services, activities or programs of state and local governments regardless of whether these entities actually received federal financial assistance.

What Is Considered A Disability?

Federal law defines a disability with regard to an individual who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such impairment.

Who Is A Qualified Individual?

A qualified individual is a person who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job that the employee currently holds or desires.

What Is A Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is an adjustment or modification in the workplace that is made to help a person with a disability be able to enjoy equal employment opportunities. In determining a reasonable accommodation for an employee, the ADA requires employers to use what is known as an "interactive process." Interactive processes require the employer and the employee to work together in good faith to determine a reasonable accommodation that will allow the employee to overcome the barriers presented by the employee's disability. An accommodation is not considered reasonable if it would place an "undue hardship" on the employer. Some examples of reasonable accommodations include but are not limited to: job restructuring, transferring of an employee to a vacant position, modified work schedules, physical plant modifications and appropriate adjustments or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies.

The state of Illinois has also enacted state law to prevent discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability. The Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against individuals on the basis of disability in regard to hiring, promotion, renewal of employment, selection for training or apprenticeship, discharge, discipline, tenure or terms, privileges or conditions of employment.

Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil, LLC's attorneys are experienced in representing individuals who have been discriminated against because of their disability. Examples of possible disability discrimination cases include:

  • An employee is terminated because he required regularly scheduled breaks throughout the day to monitor his blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • A deaf applicant is bypassed for a job because he required an interpreter during the job interview.
  • An employee with cancer is terminated because she needed to leave early for chemotherapy treatments.
  • An employee is denied a promotion because of her disability.
  • Administrators of a public park refuse to build a ramp to make the park wheelchair accessible.
  • A job applicant is asked questions regarding her past and current medical conditions and is required to take a medical examination prior to receiving a job offer.

Five Things You Need To Know About Disability Discrimination

  1. Employers are legally required to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. Employers are required to engage in an interactive process with employees seeking accommodations.
  2. Even if you are not currently disabled, you still may be protected if you have a history of an impairment or are regarded as having such impairment.
  3. It is illegal for an employer to harass an employee because of their disability.
  4. A disabled employee who is unable to perform the essential functions of his or her current job can seek a transfer accommodation to a vacant position as long as he or she is minimally qualified for that position.
  5. It is illegal for qualified individuals with disabilities to be excluded or denied benefits of the services, activities or programs of state and local governments.

Providing Free Consultations

Foote, Mielke, Chavez & O'Neil, LLC, employment litigation attorneys, in Geneva, Illinois, provide aggressive legal representation for workers who have been unlawfully terminated or have suffered the harmful effects of disability discrimination, retaliation, harassment, or other unfair and unlawful employment practices. Call us at 630-232-7450 or contact the office by email or fax to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced employment law lawyers.