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Disabled employees still face workplace discrimination

Living with a disability is not easy, but many people still work and lead productive. However, an employee with a disability might need accommodation in the workplace. Not all Wisconsin employers are willing to provide those accommodations, even when they are required to do so by law. Experiencing workplace discrimination because of a disability can be disheartening, so it is important for these individuals to understand their rights.

Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act -- the ADA -- in 1990. According to the ADA, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. The goal of the ADA was to help individuals with disabilities acquire and maintain gainful employment, and to also minimize discrimination against these workers. While there has certainly been improvement, the imprecise wording regarding accommodations is problematic.

Although the ADA explicitly prohibits employers from using discriminatory standards and from excluding qualified people based on disabilities, many still engage in these practices. Reasonable accommodations are another area where employers try to violate the law. For example, an employer may claim that the necessary accommodation for a disabled worker imposes an undue hardship that would hurt the business. While undue hardships do exist, they may not be as common as some employers in Wisconsin claim.

Employers cannot discriminate against workers for things like race, sex, disability and more. This does not stop many from engaging in discriminatory practices. Workplace discrimination is not only illegal, but it also places an enormous burden on victims who may already struggle to maintain employment. An effective method for holding these employers accountable and protecting future workers is for victims to pursue legal claims, which can lead to necessary compensation.

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