Examples of disability discrimination in the workplace
- An employer refuses to hire you, promote you, or pay you equally to your coworkers because of your disability, when you are capable of doing the job.
- An employer refuses to make “reasonable accommodations” — changes to how a job is done so that you can have an equal chance to succeed at your work.
- An employer demands that you disclose or talk about your disability when you have not asked for an accommodation.
- Your boss, coworkers, or customers direct derogatory comments, jokes, or gestures toward you that are related to your disability.
- Federal law protects people with disabilities from discrimination in employment.
- You do not have to inform an employer of your disability when you apply for a job or when you are hired — even if later you need a reasonable accommodation.
- If you can do the job, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire or promote you, to fire or demote you, to harass you, or to pay you less because of your disability.
- You are also protected from unnecessary medical inquiries at work.
- You have the right to ask for and receive “reasonable accommodations” that allow you to have an equal chance to succeed.
- However, private employers with fewer than 15 employees are not covered by federal disability nondiscrimination laws.
What to do if you need a reasonable accommodation
- Let your employer know that you have a disability and request a reasonable accommodation.
- You may need to provide a doctor’s note if your employer asks for one.
- If your employer says no to your requested modification, try to keep the conversation going. Try to think of another change that would help, or ask your employer to look at the Job Accommodation Network website.
What to do if you believe your rights have been violated
- File a charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your state fair employment practices agency.
- Depending on your state, your deadline to file with the EEOC or your state agency may be as short as 180 days.
- If you are a federal employee, contact your EEO counselor within 45 days.
- Contact a lawyer.