IS IT UNLAWFUL FOR AN EMPLOYER TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST AN EMPLOYEE FOR A “PERCEIVED DISABILITY”

Most people are aware that disability discrimination is prohibited by City, State, and Federal laws. What most people are unaware of is that employees are also protected against discrimination based on perceived disability.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against applicants and employees because of a perceived disability or a record of disability.

Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against McLane Foodservice, Inc. claiming that the company discriminated against a job applicant who they believed to be disabled.

According to the EEOC, the company refused to hire the applicant because they believed that he was disabled due to a record of disability. The lawsuit is seeking monetary relief in the form of punitive damages, back pay, and compensatory damages. An EEOC District Director discussed the case, stating, “Refusing to hire someone simply because the employer perceives a disability is a violation of federal law.”

New York City law has a broader definition of “disability” than Federal law

The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) has a broader definition of “disability” than federal law. According to the law disability means “any physical, medical, mental or psychological impairment, or a history or record of such impairment.”An impairment of any system of the body, including, but not limited to: the neurological system; the musculoskeletal system; the special sense organs and respiratory organs, including, but not limited to, speech organs; the cardiovascular system; the reproductive system; the digestive and urinary systems.

The term “disabled” also applies to individuals with psychological impairments, and those who are recovering from substance abuse.

Because the NYCHRL has such a broad definition of disability, individuals who have experienced disability discrimination in a New York City workplace should seek a lawyer who is experienced with City law as well as State and Federal Law.

The lawyers at Akin Law Group are ready to help

If you have experienced disability discrimination at work, contact the Akin Law Group at 866.685.5163 to schedule an appointment with an employment lawyer. The lawyers at Akin Law Group are highly knowledgeable in matters of city, state, and federal employment law, and are ready to protect your rights