Federal law requires most employers to provide reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities and religious needs. A reasonable accommodation is generally a change in the way the work is performed. It could include schedule changes, technology changes or even allowing the person to work remotely. The accommodation is considered reasonable if it would not create "undue hardship," meaning significant cost or disruption, for the employer.
Walmart announced recently that it plans to eliminate the position of store greeter at all U.S. stores, effective in late April. The news came as a shock to many Walmart greeters, especially those with disabilities. In the past, Walmart had been praised for providing viable jobs for people with a variety of disabilities, offering them the chance to represent the company when customers enter the store.
Anyone who has been pregnant knows that pregnancy can be debilitating at times. Even in the healthiest and least complicated of pregnancies, women can be brought down by nausea and have to stop doing routine tasks at home and work due to doctors' orders to stop lifting. For many women, these are only minor inconveniences because they will pass and there are people to help out in the meantime. For other women, such side effects of pregnancy may lead to a job loss.
Under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, employers here in Maryland and throughout the country are banned from discriminating against people with disabilities. Discriminatory actions include not only things like the outright refusal to hire a person based on a disability, and refusing a promotion to someone on the basis of a disability, but also failing to make reasonable accommodations to facilitate a disabled person's employment.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission launched a lawsuit against a company in Maryland yesterday. It is accusing the Baltimore-based mechanical heating, ventilation and air conditioning company, Fidelity Engineering, of disability discrimination and retaliation.
A national drug store chain has agreed to a $250,000 settlement with a former employee who claims that he was fired because of his disability. The settlement also dictates that the company may commit no additional violations of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and that it must provide additional ADA training for store managers to ensure that no such violations take place in the future.
Maryland residents may be surprised to learn that the very agency that is responsible for enforcing federal laws that prevent workplace discrimination is being accused of discriminating against one of its employees because of her disability.
In Greenbelt and throughout the metro D.C. area, workplace discrimination is not the same issue that it once was--it exists, but it has evolved. Companies do not often publicly fire a worker because she is a woman or because he has a disability, as this type of blatant discrimination has become unpopular over time. But, discrimination still plays an unfortunate role in hiring and firing decisions as well as daily life in the workplace.
When someone is treated unfairly at work or even fired because of disability discrimination, he or she has a right to seek legal recourse. Employees are protected against such mistreatment at the hands of their employers under federal law.