If you have been treated unfairly by an employer or prospective employer because you are disabled, you may consider filing a disability discrimination lawsuit. So long as your disability is not one that prevents you from fulfilling the essential duties of your job or the job you desire, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of your condition alone. Employers however do engage in discriminatory behavior that affects those with a wide variety of disabilities.
Eisbrouch Marsh are employment lawyers with over two decades of experience advocating for those impacted by discrimination in the workplace. Learn more about how to win compensation for the earnings of which you’ve been deprived by calling us at 201-342-5545 today.
Fundamentals of Disability Discrimination
Under both New Jersey state and federal law, discrimination based on the existence of a disability in matters of public accommodation, employment, commercial facilities, telecommunications and transportation is prohibited. Individuals who meet the statutory definitions of “disabled” are entitled to a series of protections that include reasonable accommodations in employment contexts, accessibility provisions in government buildings and facilities, and the ability to make full use of common modes of public transportation and educational offerings.
Disability discrimination may include harassment by the employer about a worker’s existing disability, inquiring about past or current medical conditions, maintaining a workplace with significant obstacles to those with physical disabilities, or refusal to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled workers.
In the words of former President George H.W. Bush, such safeguards represent a “comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities” and must be zealously asserted whenever threatened.
Employment Protections Found in the Americans with Disabilities Act
Title I of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) explicitly forbids covered employers from engaging in discrimination against a disabled individual as it relates to any facet of employment.
This extends to matters pertaining to:
- Pay rate
- Job duty assignments
- Layoff decisions
- Training opportunities
- Any other condition or term of employment
A “covered” employer is one with at least 15 employees, whether public or private, and the classification also includes employment agencies, joint labor-management committees and labor organizations.
It is important to note that under the federal law, protection is only extended to those who are qualified for the job in question and who also have a disability that falls within the statutory definition.
To demonstrate disability, one must demonstrate:
- A mental or physical condition that significantly limits a major life activity (seeing, walking, hearing, learning, etc)
- A history of such a disability or that he or she is believed to have such an impairment that is not temporary or minor in nature.
Not all medical conditions, therefore, entitle a person to protection pursuant to the ADA.
Covered employers must not treat qualified, disabled employees or job applicants unfavorably simply because of their condition. Further, such employers must offer reasonable accommodation to job applicants or current employees who have a disability under the law, unless fulfilling that obligation would pose an undue hardship on the employer. Reasonable accommodation could take the form of any alteration in the job environment that would assist the disabled employee in completing his or her duties.
It is also unlawful to discriminate in employment situations against someone due to their relationship with a disabled individual.
The attorneys of Eisbrouch Marsh are highly skilled at identifying actionable disability discrimination. We pledge to investigate your concerns thoroughly and will explain your legal options in the most straightforward way.
New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination
Though similar in intent to the federal ADA, New Jersey’s comparable statute, its Law Against Discrimination (LAD) is widely thought to be much broader in the scope of individuals it covers. Protection under the LAD is not necessarily limited to those with severe disabilities that substantially limit a major life activity, but is actually enjoyed even by those with perceived mental or physical disabilities and those who have been handicapped at any time, not just the present time.
Regardless of whether your situation lends itself better to a claim filed pursuant to the ADA or the LAD, the attorneys at Eisbrouch Marsh have the investigative resources, expert consultants and legal support staff necessary to get to the truth and establish unequal treatment on the basis of your disability.
How Discrimination Victims Can Seek Justice
Victims of discrimination in the workplace based on disability need to know that federal law does provide for substantial remedies and compensation. However, a strict procedure has been put in place that must be followed before a lawsuit can be filed under such circumstances.
Potential plaintiffs are required to exhaust administrative remedies first by filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days of the allegedly discriminatory action. The agency may investigate the case on its own or request that the parties submit to mediation. If no resolution is achieved, a right-to-sue letter will be issued to the complaining party. Any lawsuit must then be filed with 90 days of the letter’s issuance.
Compensation for successful plaintiffs in New Jersey disability discrimination lawsuits can include:
- Punitive damages
- Compensatory damages
- Attorney fees
- Court costs
- Injunctive relief
Compensatory damages could include payment for emotional pain, inconvenience, monetary loss, mental anguish and other types of harm. Punitive damages may be awarded upon showing that the defendant employer acted maliciously or with gross indifference to federally protected rights. Injunctive relief might include an order of reinstatement, an order to hire or an order to promote an employee. It could also involve an order to provide reasonable accommodation and to cease all discriminatory behavior.
The types and amounts of monetary compensation are heavily dependent on the specific facts of each case, and that is why it is important to enlist the aid of a talented NJ employment discrimination lawyer as soon as possible after the adverse actions occur. The Eisbrouch Marsh team has the ability to provide a comprehensive assessment of the facts of your case, determine whether unlawful discrimination has indeed occurred and help you decide among possible next steps.
It is our mission to give you the insights necessary to make informed decisions about your future while rendering personalized, compassionate client service.
Finding an Employment Lawyer Who Can Help
Living with a disability of any kind is difficult enough without also having to face unfair treatment in the workplace. At Eisbrouch Marsh, we are committed to seeking justice on behalf of otherwise qualified individuals who have been discriminated against solely because of their impairments.
If you or someone you love have experienced an adverse employment decision or another type of unlawful disability discrimination, we urge you to schedule a no-cost initial consultation by calling us at 201-342-5545. We serve residents in northern New Jersey, including Hackensack, Newark, Bergen County, and Essex County from our offices in New Jersey and New York.