New Hampshire Disability Discrimination and Harassment Lawyer
Both federal and New Hampshire law prohibits disability discrimination in the workplace. Employers may not discriminate against workers because they have disabilities and employers must provide reasonable accommodations to disabled workers who need such accommodations to do their jobs. The attorneys at the New Hampshire Employee Rights Group have decades of experience protecting the rights of workers with disabilities and holding employers accountable when they violate those rights.Employers may not Discriminate Against Workers Because They Have a Disability
While disability discrimination is illegal it is not uncommon. If an employer takes any adverse action against a worker because they have a disability, it has engaged in disability discrimination. Some examples of discriminatory actions include refusal to hire, refusal to promote, demotion, and termination. Sometimes employers discriminate against a worker with a disability because the employer thinks the worker will not be able to do the job or because a worker’s disability makes the employer uncomfortable. Whatever the reason, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a worker because they have a disability. So long as the disabled worker can do their job, with or without a reasonable accommodation, an employer cannot hold the worker’s disability against them.
One form of disability discrimination is harassment. It is illegal for an employer to permit harassment of an employee because of their disability. Cases of disability harassment include, but are not limited to, situations where supervisors or co-workers:
- Ridicule a disabled employee’s speech;
- Label an employee with a mental health condition as “crazy” or “dangerous”;
- Refer repeatedly to an employee with a developmental disability as “stupid” or “retarded”;
- Encourage people to ostracize employees because they have health conditions, like HIV, which carry stigma; or
- Act with hostility toward a disabled employee because they think the disabled employee is exaggerating or faking their mental or physical limitations.
Workers with disabilities sometimes need reasonable accommodations to perform the essential functions of their jobs. A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to ordinary working conditions that a disabled employee needs to perform their job. Employers must provide these reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities.
If you have a disability and you request a reasonable accommodation to perform your job, your employer is required to work with you, in good faith, to try to find a suitable and reasonable accommodation that will enable you to do your job. As your condition changes, the accommodations that you need, and that your employer is required to provide, might change. There are resources available, such as the Job Accommodation Network, that can help you and your employer find an accommodation that will work. If you and your employer cannot find an accommodation that will enable you to do your job, the accommodation of last resort is reassignment to a different position. If an employer refuses to provide a disabled employee with a reasonable accommodation that would enable the employee to do their job, that is a violation of the law.
Some types of reasonable accommodations that disabled employees sometimes require include, but are not limited to:
- More accessible routes into the workplace for employees with mobility problems;
- Modified work schedules for disabled employees who cannot work the ordinary schedule;
- Equipment or computer software that will enable employees with vision or hearing impairments to do the job;
- Service animals that assist the disabled employee; or
- Medical leave to enable the employee to undergo treatment for their disability.
Living with a disability can present many challenges in a society filled with unnecessary barriers but if employment discrimination is one of those barriers you may have legal recourse. The attorneys at the New Hampshire Employee Rights Group have represented workers with many types of disabilities, both physical and mental. We are sensitive to the needs of our clients and work aggressively to protect their rights. If you think you might have suffered from disability discrimination, call us at 833.365.2929 or fill out this online form for an initial consultation.