The groundbreaking legislation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has positively impacted the lives of disabled Americans for several decades. If you are a person with a disability, it’s important to understand the ADA and when your rights may be violated.
Here’s what you need to know about the ADA and what to do if you feel your employer has violated your rights.
What Is the ADA?
The ADA prohibits discrimination against a person based on their disability. It was created to help eliminate barriers that those with disabilities face; for instance, challenges with employment, transportation, access to government programs/services, and public accommodations.
This federal law intends to provide equal access to all Americans. It includes a description of qualifying disabilities under the ADA. Note that conditions do not need to be permanent in order to qualify.
The following conditions are outlined as disabilities in the ADA:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Mobility impairments including partial limbs or limbs missing completely
- Bipolar disorder
- Intellectual incapacity
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Major depressive disorder
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cerebral palsy
- Muscular dystrophy
- HIV and AIDS
What About Pregnancy?
Pregnancy in and of itself is not considered a disability under the ADA, but certain complications can change that. If impairments from pregnancy arise that limit one or more major life activities, it may count as a disability.
Employers must assess if issues with the pregnant employee can be accommodated in the workplace. It’s a careful balancing act, because they cannot discriminate against a pregnant person under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission rules.
Common ADA Violations in FL
Some violations of the ADA are more common than others. In court, you will frequently see cases addressing:
- Accessibility of public restrooms
- Width of aisles in stores
- Parking lot violations in which the disabled parking spots are either difficult to spot, or the route from the parking space to the building isn’t accessible
- Failure to reserve a disabled parking space for a van
- Ramp issues, i.e. steep ramps without handrails, no edge protection, small landing areas, or steep side flares on curbs
Employment for Those with Disabilities
People with disabilities often face hurdles in the workplace. Under the ADA, they are to have access to the same opportunities for employment and benefits as those without disabilities. Furthermore, once hired, the employer is required to make reasonable accommodations for the ADA-protected employee so the job can be done without undue hardship.
If you feel your employer or other organizations in your community are not living up to standards set by the ADA, you can take action. An experienced attorney can guide you through the process and will make sure that your claim is strong and justified before taking action.
You will need to file a complaint with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Disability Rights Section. The complaint can be submitted online or via fax for review. The complaint must include your personal information, the information of the business or organization believed to be discriminatory, a brief description of the discrimination, and your contact details.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2020 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2017, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019.