Texas Disability Discrimination Lawyers
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as amended in 2008 (ADAAA), discriminating against someone because of their disability is illegal. When an employer fails to accommodate an employee’s disability – or they harass, punish, or treat them worse for it – the employee may be able to file an ADA lawsuit seeking compensation for their injuries.
If you or a loved one has been discriminated against because of a physical or mental disability, a Texas disability discrimination lawyer can help you determine if you qualify for legal action.
What is injury or disability discrimination?
Injury or disability discrimination is when your employer treats you less favorably because you have an injury or disability. That could mean that they’re refusing to accommodate your physical or mental condition; that they are harassing you because of it; or that they fired or demoted you, denied you a promotion, or reduced your hours or wages for no reason other than your disability or injury.
In Texas, as in the rest of the United States, disability discrimination is illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Workers who have been treated unfairly because of a disability or another medical condition may be able to file an ADA lawsuit seeking compensation.
What is the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law passed in 1990 to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace and in public spaces such as schools and transportation hubs. The ADA was amended in 2008 to make it more friendly to employees with disabilities. The law requires most employers to provide reasonable accommodations for disabilities, such as medical leave, breaks for medical appointments and treatment, wheelchair ramps, reserved parking spaces, and modified bathrooms.
Under the ADA, as well as Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code, organizations with 15 or more employees that fail to provide these accommodations – or that otherwise discriminate against workers with disabilities or injuries – may be held legally liable for these violations. If you think that your employer, or a loved one’s employer, may have violated the ADA, you should speak with a Texas disability discrimination lawyer as soon as possible.
What employers must comply with the ADA?
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), these organizations are subject to the conditions of the Americans with Disabilities Act:
- Private employers with 15+ employees
- State and local governments
- Employment agencies
- Labor organizations
- Labor-management committees
If an employer falls into one of the categories above, and they discriminate against a disabled or injured worker, that worker may be able to take legal action.
What disabilities are covered by the ADA?
Though the EEOC does not have a set list of disabilities that meet the requirements of the ADA, it states that the impairment must be substantial, which it and courts define as significantly limiting a major life activity or bodily function, such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, learning or working.
Disabilities that would most likely meet this criterion include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Cerebral palsy (CP) or Erb’s palsy (EP)
- Chronic migraines
- Crohn’s disease
- Intellectual disabilities
- Kidney disease
- Lyme disease
- Major depressive disorder
- Missing limbs
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Muscular dystrophy
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Paralysis of the limbs (paraplegia or quadriplegia)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Pregnancy-related conditions such as hyperemesis
- Significant mobility impairments
- Thyroid gland disorders
What disabilities are not covered by the ADA?
Conditions that are unlikely to meet the government’s definition of a significant impairment under the ADA include:
- Common cold
- Compulsive gambling
- Side effects from recreational drug use
- Sprained joint (or another minor, soft-tissue injury)
What’s the most common ADA violation?
Disability discrimination can take many forms, but perhaps the most common type of ADA violation is the failure to accommodate an employee’s disability. Here are some examples:
- Entrances/exits that aren’t wheelchair-accessible
- Failure to provide additional training
- Failure to provide medical leave sufficient for recovery after surgery
- Failure to provide medical leave to recover from cancer treatment
- Failure to provide medical leave for inpatient or certain outpatient mental health treatment
- Failure to provide qualified readers or interpreters
- Failure to provide remote work as a reasonable accommodation
- Lack of reserved parking spaces for disabled drivers
- Lack of wheelchair ramps or seating
- Restroom facilities that aren’t wheelchair-accessible
- Signage that doesn’t include braille for blind employees
- Videos that don’t have closed captioning for deaf employees
What are some other examples of disability discrimination?
In addition to not providing the necessary accommodations for a disability or injury, the following types of actions could also constitute discrimination:
- Demoting an employee because of their medical condition
- Docking an employee’s pay or cutting their hours because of their disability
- Harassing or mocking a disabled employee, and/or creating a hostile work environment
- Wrongfully terminating someone’s employment as a result of their injury or disability, as opposed to their performance
Can you sue for disability discrimination?
Potentially, yes. If your employer failed to accommodate your disability or injury, or harassed or penalized you for it, you may be entitled to compensation. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Texas Labor Code, it’s illegal to discriminate or retaliate against disabled workers.
If you think you may have been discriminated against because of a medical condition or injury, contact a Texas disability discrimination attorney to see if you qualify for a lawsuit.
What kind of compensation can I recover from an ADA lawsuit?
Every case is different, with many factors that determine how much money you could be owed. That said, these are the most common types of damages you could recover through a disability discrimination lawsuit:
- Lost wages: Back pay owed if your hours or salary were reduced, or you were fired;
- Pain and suffering: Compensation for the emotional or psychological anguish experienced because of the discrimination;
- Punitive damages: Intended to discourage future discrimination by the employer;
- Interest: Pre- and post-suit interest; and
- Attorney’s fees and court costs: The reasonable amount incurred in bringing a lawsuit.
These damages may range from thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the length and extent of the discrimination, as well as its repercussions and the earning capacity of the disabled worker. An employment lawyer can help you determine if you qualify for compensation, and if so, how much you might be owed.
Most disability discrimination matters are settled before becoming lawsuits, and even most lawsuits are settled out of court before going to trial, making for a quicker resolution.
Why should I work with Kaplan Law Firm?
Kaplan Law Firm is an employment law and civil rights firm that’s been proudly serving Texans since 2015. Founded by Austin Kaplan in Austin, Texas, our firm has represented hundreds of clients in a wide range of employment and civil rights matters, including claims for discrimination, harassment, breach of contract, wage and hour violations, and whistleblower retaliation.
We’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients; received dozens of five-star reviews on Google and Avvo; and our attorneys have been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg, Fast Company, and on CNN.
Reach out today for a free, confidential case review to see if we can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
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