The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled workers from discrimination in the workplace. Under the law, employers cannot make hiring or firing decisions based on a known or perceived disability. You are also entitled to a harassment-free workplace that provides reasonable accommodations to help you do your job.
Have you experienced constant mockery or felt intimidated by your boss’ or coworkers’ behavior? Were you let go after your boss learned you had a disability, even though you were a stellar performer? If so, you may be able to pursue compensation for all resulting losses.
What is Workplace Discrimination Under the ADA?
Discrimination doesn’t just refer to being fired or denied a job because of your disability—though that is certainly against the law. If your workplace processes result in disabled individuals being treated differently, or if your supervisor refuses to provide you with reasonable accommodations to do your job, you have faced discrimination. You may also be able to complain if you’ve faced constant harassment that has made your workplace a “hostile environment.” In short: It’s not okay for people to treat you differently because you have a disability.
Disability in the Hiring Process
Though Americans are highly biased against people with disabilities, many may not even recognize their prejudice. This can make it difficult to prove you were denied a job because of your disability.
Outright bias is easy to spot; if a hiring manager assumes you can’t do a job or states that they don’t want to have to provide accommodations, you can point to their words and actions as proof of wrongdoing. The same goes if your disability causes you to fail a test that does not relate to skills needed for the job. But what if the company simply had a better feeling about another applicant of similar skill and experience level who was not perceived to be disabled? Working with a lawyer may help you discover patterns or prerequisites that prove the hiring process was discriminatory.
Am I Eligible for Compensation After Being Harassed or Wrongfully Fired?
If you can prove that your employer illegally discriminated against you due to a disability, they may have to pay you damages for expenses or losses you suffered as a result of their actions. These include:
- Lost wages and benefits
- Back pay
- Front pay (if you are not given your job back and may have trouble finding a new job)
- Attorney and other legal/process-related fees
- Emotional damages
In cases of egregious employer behavior, the judge may also assess punitive damages, which would also be awarded to you.
How Can I Pursue a Discrimination Case?
Like all cases of workplace discrimination or other unlawful activity, your first step should be to document everything that’s going on. The more evidence you have, the easier it will be to prove your case. Precision matters—so try to include exact dates or times, verbatim quotes, and detailed explanations of discriminatory acts.
After you have sufficient evidence to make a complaint, we suggest you reach out to a lawyer. Before you can start a lawsuit, you must file a charge with the EEOC outlining the discrimination you have faced. The EEOC will not provide a representative to argue your side of the case. You’ll want to make sure you have someone on your side during this process who has experience working with the EEOC and advocating for clients whose employers have wronged them.
When you file with the EEOC, your employer will be given a chance to investigate and may offer a settlement. If they make a fair offer then your process may be over—but if they refute your charges or offer less compensation than you deserve, you may need to take them to court. A lawyer can help you obtain permission to sue from the EEOC and start on the legal process.
Workplace Discrimination is Wrong
We help our El Paso community members get justice when they’ve been injured or mistreated by companies that care more about their bottom line than their employees. If you experienced workplace discrimination, you don’t just have to put up with it—and you may be able to fight back if it causes significant harm.
Chavez Law Firm is dedicated to protecting your employment rights, no matter what it takes.