I Think My Employer Violated the ADA

Posted by Sessions & Kimball |

If you believe your employer may have breached the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it’s crucial to understand both your rights under this law and the steps necessary for addressing potential violations. Recognizing a potential violation of such fundamental rights demands an immediate response, taking steps to understand and address these workplace concerns. Keep reading the information provided by our employment lawyers so you are aware of what is considered a violation and know what to do if this occurs.

Overview of the Americans with Disabilities act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of disability in various settings, including the workplace. Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations which may include adjustments or modifications to the work environment.

Employers are required to conduct an interactive process with employees who may require a reasonable accommodation due to their disability. This essentially involves open communication between both parties to identify potential workplace adjustments or support that can facilitate the employee’s job performance.

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

Reasonable accommodations are adjustments in the workplace setting that enable an employee with a disability to perform their job responsibilities. These could include:

  • Changing work schedules
  • Restructuring job requirements
  • Modifying company policies
  • Providing specialized equipment

An employer is generally required to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities unless they would cause an undue hardship.

…undue hardship must be based on an individualized assessment of current circumstances that show that a specific reasonable accommodation would cause significant difficulty or expense.

What to Do If Your Employer Violates the ADA

If you believe your employer has violated the ADA, taking clear and organized steps can help protect your rights and position you to address inappropriate workplace practices. Here’s what you should do:

Review the ADA Requirements: Educate yourself on the provisions of the ADA to understand what constitutes reasonable accommodations and discrimination. This knowledge allows you to gauge whether your employer’s actions might be violating your rights according to the law.

Document Everything: Begin compiling detailed records of events or conditions related to alleged discrimination, like interactions with management, requests for accommodation, and the employer’s responses. Having a timeline with specific examples can significantly help your case.

Gather Evidence of Discrimination: Accumulate any supporting documents that may serve as evidence. This could be emails reflecting denials of accommodation or witness testimonies corroborating discriminatory behaviors or patterns within your workplace.

Communicate with Your Employer: It’s possible that a perceived ADA violation may stem from misunderstanding or lack of knowledge. If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, discuss your concerns directly with your employer or HR department.

Consult with an Employment Lawyer: If circumstances do not improve, seek advice from an employment lawyer well-versed in ADA matters. They can guide you through potential claims.

File a Complaint: With your lawyer’s help, you may decide to file a formal charge of discrimination. You have the option of where to file your complaint – either with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California’s Civil Rights Department (CRD).

The ADA applies only to employers with at least 15 employees; however, California’s laws offer increased protections for those employed by small businesses. State regulations expand coverage to employers having 5 or more employees.

When a complaint is filed with the CRD or the EEOC, they may facilitate dispute resolution services. The goal is to examine if there is an amicable resolution that can be reached. In cases where a satisfactory solution cannot be reached through negotiations, CRD or EEOC undertakes an official investigation into any discrimination alleged. Depending on the outcome, you may decide to file a lawsuit against your employer. 

If you suspect an ADA violation in your workplace, remember that understanding your rights and acting quickly are key steps towards a resolution. Don’t hesitate to secure legal advice on how best to proceed – contact us today for a free consultation.