Disability Discrimination

Handicapped Discrimination

Discrimination against the handicapped is prevalent throughout the public and private sectors of our society.

Prejudice that stems from fear of the unknown and a lack of understanding regarding the nature of a person’s handicap often shapes how normal people view such individuals, and most often are unable to see past a person’s handicap to discover he or she is a real person who is really not much different from anyone else.

Bias against the handicapped is very commonplace in the workplace. Fortunately for the gainfully employed handicapped, employee laws are in place to protect their rights.

What Constitutes a Disability?

Under Colorado employment law, a person is disabled if:

  • He or she has a physical, sensory (deafness or blindness) or mental impairment that affects his or her ability to perform daily activities
  • He or she has a record of such impairment
  • He or she is recognized as having such impairment

What Constitutes Handicapped Discrimination?

Handicapped discrimination can take on many forms. A few examples include:

  • Being treated differently on the job than your co-workers because you are handicapped
  • A restaurant refuses to provide handicapped access or accommodations
  • You get harassed and verbally abused by co-workers (i.e., they mimic your speech or physical impairment) and management does nothing to stop it even though you complain about it
  • You get skipped over for a promotion for which you are qualified because your boss — who is aware that you survived a debilitating and/or life-threatening illness — feels you may not be able to handle the responsibility

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

Under Title I of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA), employers are prohibited from discriminating against a handicapped or disabled employee.

Employers with more than 15 employees must provide handicapped/disabled employees with equal opportunities to the same employment-related opportunities as those available to others.

In addition, employers must make reasonable accommodations to known mental or physical limitations of otherwise qualified persons with a handicap/disability, unless it causes undue hardship.