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By Louise Herman

If you have a disability, you understand how challenging life can be due to the failure of others to ensure the world is fair and accessible to everyone. In the workplace, you may be hesitant to speak up about discrimination for fear of retaliation. However, there are laws that protect those with certain conditions from being treated unfairly. If you believe you’re being discriminated against, understanding what types of disabilities are protected by law can help ensure you receive the justice you deserve. A Providence, Rhode Island disability discrimination lawyer can help ensure you are given the same opportunities as your coworkers without disabilities.

What Types of Disabilities Are Protected?

Understanding what laws can protect those with disabilities is essential to understanding your rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is one of the foremost laws established to protect those with disabilities from experiencing discrimination in housing, education, and especially in the workplace. This act helps protect those with physical or mental disabilities from being discriminated against, including disease, mobility issues, mental disorders, and disfigurement. Similarly, vision impairment, intellectual disabilities, chronic injury, and mental health conditions are all protected under the ADA.

Not only are those with disabilities protected by federal law, but Rhode Island General Law also protects employees from facing any form of discrimination, which includes those with disabilities. Both federal and state laws protect employers from refusing to hire, promote, or provide tools or modifications that would help ensure you do your job.

What Should I Do if I’m Facing Discrimination?

If you believe that your employer is refusing to modify your job, you may be able to file a lawsuit for disability discrimination. For example, if you can complete your job with slight modifications, your employer must make reasonable accommodations. Examples include:

  • A modified work schedule so you can tend to your disabilities
  • The necessary tools and equipment that allow you to perform your job duties
  • A leave of absence to tend to your disability
  • Modifying the workspace to make it easier for you to navigate the building

Should an employer be unable to make these modifications because they are unreasonable, they must work with you in order to find a comparable option that still accommodates your disabilities. They are also not allowed to ask how you obtained your disability, but an employer can ask how it affects your ability to complete your job in an effort to understand the best adjustments to make to help you succeed.

When an employer refuses to accommodate types of disabilities, they can be held responsible in the eyes of the law. Under these conditions, you are very likely to successfully hold them accountable for their actions and any damages it has caused you. At the Herman Law Group, we understand that not all employers are fair. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case with a member of our dedicated legal team to learn more about how we can help you hold discriminatory employers responsible.

About the Author
At Herman Law Group, our focus is on safeguarding the rights and careers of employees and businesses alike. With over 35 years of successful legal practice, Louise A. Herman brings an invaluable dual perspective from representing both employees and employers. This unique insight allows us to effectively achieve successful outcomes for our clients in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and nationwide.