It’s a sad reality that many people today continue to face discrimination in one form or another.
Sometimes it will be quite obvious, though on occasion it may be subtle, or manifest in a way that the person being discriminated against will question their own perception.
What is Disability Discrimination?
Disability discrimination can come in many forms and may be considered direct or indirect.
Those who are subjected to direct discrimination are those who are treated less favourably than someone without a disability in identical circumstances. This can occur not only when you have a disability, but also when you are perceived to have one (discrimination by perception) or are connected to someone who does (discrimination by association).
Some examples might be when you are passed over for employment or promotion in favour of another individual due to your disability, despite having better qualifications. Another example is when parents of a disabled child are not allowed to eat in a particular section of a restaurant. These parents are being denied the same choices as other families.
Indirect discrimination involves rules, policies, or practices that should apply equally to everyone, but which negatively impact a person with a disability, putting them at an unfair advantage. For example, when a public building can only be entered by climbing a set of stairs, effectively preventing those in wheelchairs from entering, this is indirect discrimination that restricts one group of people.
Other examples of disability discrimination include:
- Being harassed for being disabled, such as when jokes are made about your disability
- Being victimized for taking legal action against discrimination, on behalf of yourself or others
- When steps are not taken to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate those with a disability
- When you are discriminated against for your association with an individual who is disabled, such as a partner or a child
Disability Discrimination in the Workplace
Disability discrimination can often be found in the workplace, where employers are required to work with employees to make appropriate adjustments and accommodations that would allow them to complete their work, provided these accommodations do not create an undue hardship for the company.
Some of the most common forms of disability discrimination in the workplace include:
- Not hiring a qualified applicant because of their disability
- Demoting or firing an employee due to their disability
- Failure to provide equal opportunities to employees with disabilities
- Harassing an employee due to their disability
- Failing to provide reasonable accommodations
What To Do If You Have Been the Victim of Disability Discrimination
When facing disability discrimination at work, it’s worth noting that there may be some situations where a policy that puts a disabled person at a disadvantage can be justified, such as when there is a legitimate health or safety concern. For example, being refused employment when there are no reasonable accommodations that can be made which would allow you to perform the work safely can be justified by the employer.
If you feel that you have been the victim of disability discrimination, you are best served by seeking a discrimination lawyer who can help you demonstrate the link between the negative treatment you have received and your disability.
At Hillside Law, we have the experience and expertise you need to make your case. Contact us today for more information.