The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the federal law that protects disabled individuals from discrimination by state and local governments, employment agencies, labor unions and private employers with 15 or more workers. Federal employees and applicants are covered by similar protections under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
New York City law has even broader protections than the ADA for disabled workers. Learn more about reasonable accommodations for disabilities, or contact our firm for a phone consultation with one of our attorneys if you believe you have a discrimination claim. Call 866-654-0343.
New York City Lawyers Representing Clients Facing Discrimination Based On Disability Or Perceived Disability
A person may be disabled if he or she currently (i) has a physical or mental impairment (ii) that substantially limits (iii) one or more major life activities.
"Major life activities" under the ADA include:
- Activities such as walking, reading or communicating
- Bodily functions (i.e., immune, neurological, respiratory, circulatory and reproductive functions)
A person may also be disabled if he or she has a history of disability OR if he or she is "regarded as" disabled. Mitigating measures such as eyeglasses and contact lenses are not considered when determining whether a person is disabled under the ADA. Merely episodic impairments are considered a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
The ADA also protects persons from discrimination in employment based on their relationship with a disabled person. For example, it is unlawful to discriminate against an employee because his wife has a disability.
Understand Your Rights During the Hiring Process
Employers cannot question applicants about their disabilities or require them to undergo a medical examination. However, employers may ask whether an applicant is able to perform the essential functions of the job.
There are specific rules regarding drug testing and the hiring of individuals with past or current addictions:
- Employers can require applicants to take a drug test.
- Employers may deny an individual a job based on current use of illegal drugs.
- An individual who has completed a drug rehabilitation program and has stopped using illegal drugs may be disabled.
- Alcoholism is also considered a disability. However, individuals suffering from alcoholism can still be held to the same performance metrics as other employees.
- Employers may fire or refuse to hire an individual whose disability poses a threat to the health or safety of the individual or other employees.
Contact Fisher Taubenfeld LLP
We offer a free and confidential phone consultation in which you can discuss your workplace mistreatment. Send an email or call 646-741-3490, toll free 866-654-0343, to speak with an experienced New York disability discrimination lawyer.