There are many different disabilities that people in the United States struggle with. Sometimes, a disability is the result of a genetic condition, an injury during birth, or an injury or illness earlier in life. Other times, people can become suddenly injured as adults. Degenerative conditions, like multiple sclerosis, or even mental health conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder, can be a source of disability for workers.
However, just because you have a medical diagnosis does not mean that you can’t work. Many people with serious medical conditions or disabilities have fulfilling and successful careers. A key component to this, however, is your employer’s willingness to accommodate your needs. Sadly, quite a few people with disabilities face discrimination at their place of employment.
You have the right to expect reasonable accommodations
Regardless of the nature of your job or the kind of condition you have, your employer should make reasonable attempts to accommodate you. Accommodations vary broadly depending on the disability in question.
Some people need additional breaks throughout the day. Others may need to shift positions, as they cannot remain seated or standing for long times. In some cases, people who develop a condition while already employed may need new responsibilities, as they can no longer perform the same tasks. Accommodations can also look like moving an employee who needs crutches or other mobility assistance to a ground-level work location.
Unfortunately, many employers balk at providing even the simplest and most inexpensive of accommodations to workers with disabilities. Unless the accommodations you require present an undue hardship for your employer, steps should be taken to help you stay on the job.
Federal law protects the rights of the disabled to stay at work
Regardless of the nature of your disability, you have the same rights as every other American. That includes the right to pursue an income and a career that you find fulfilling. Your employer cannot discriminate against you simply because you have a disabling medical condition.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that employers do their best to accommodate disabled workers. This broad and critical piece of federal law protects workers who want to stay on the job despite their conditions. There are some limits to the ADA, including the number of employees who work for the company.
If your employer refuses to accommodate you or finds a reason to terminate or demote you as a result of requesting accommodations, you have every right to push back. Take the time to educate yourself about your rights and make sure to document everything your employer does that you believe violates those rights. This can help you pursue justice at a later time.