Disability Discrimination Claims On The Rise According to EEOC

New data obtained from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) suggests that employees are filing more disability discrimination complaints. Here is what we know about the report:

  1. For example, in Texas: although disabled persons make up 17.5% of the workforce, 30% of the complaints filed with the EEOC in 2016 were those having to do with disability discrimination.
  2. In 2016, a total of 28,073 disability complaints were filed. 
  3. After the EEOC investigated those complaints, 5,680 were found to have been supported by evidence. 
  4. $131 million was collected and distributed to those who were discriminated against.

What caused the increase in disability discrimination complaints?

Though it’s possible that there has been an increase in overall discrimination, it’s more likely that the increase has to do with the fact that those being discriminated against feel more confident to report their claims. Good news, considering many disabled individuals probably already feel like the process of getting interviews and then getting hired is hard enough. Discrimination such as harassment, retaliation, discrimination, and being refused promotions may go underreported if the individual fears losing their job and starting the hiring process over again.

More importantly, many temporarily disabled employees are wrongfully terminated when they request some time off or other reasonable accommodation.  Many employers will fire a disabled employee because they have exhausted their FMLA leave or don’t qualify for FMLA leave.  This is illegal in most situations.   

As a disabled worker, it’s important to remember that you are entitled to certain accommodations. If you feel that you are being discriminated against by your employer, don’t suffer quietly alone. Instead, consider contacting an employment attorney to assist you with building a factual case against your employer.

*image by Marc Fulgar

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Declares Pregnancy a Disability Requiring Light Duty Accommodations

As of July 14, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a guidance that instructs employers to provide light duty accommodations to pregnant employees, even if they don’t suffer from any other underlying medical conditions. The decision is the result of an increase in pregnancy-related discrimination complaints in the last few years.

Before the most recent guidance, employers were instructed to treat pregnant employees the same as non-pregnant employees. Under the new guidance however, employers are encouraged to provide light duty accommodations to pregnant employees.

There is plenty of controversy surrounding the EEOC’s latest guidance. Not only does the guidance violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act but could also violate the Pregnancy Workers Fairness Act which is currently pending in Congress.

Should an employer have to implement a light duty program for pregnant women, much like they would do for those with work-related injuries or conditions?  Or should it depend on the specific pregnant woman’s situation? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

*image by Frank de Kleine, Flickr

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Shirazi Law Firm, PC

Shirazi Law Firm, PC

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