Disability Discrimination Attorney in Akron, Ohio
Laws in Ohio and at the federal level protect employees against discrimination based on a disability or even on the false impression that an employee is disabled. The laws cover all aspects of employment, from the hiring process to on-the-job duties to termination.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the federal statute that protects against adverse acts and discrimination against job applicants and employees based on a real or perceived disability. The Ohio Civil Rights Act protects people with disabilities and other classes of individuals against workplace discrimination.
If you feel you have been discriminated against at work because of a disability in or around Akron, Ohio, contact the Law Offices of F. Benjamin Riek III.
With more than four decades’ experience in helping hardworking Ohioans assert their right to fair treatment at work, Attorney F. Benjamin Riek III will represent you vigorously in pressing for a resolution to your situation. He also serves clients in Cleveland, Hudson, Canton, and Lorain.
The Definition of Disability Under the Law
The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental condition that limits a major life activity. Major life activities include walking, reading, bending over, communicating, and more, as well as major bodily functions such as one’s immune, digestive, respiratory, and reproductive systems, among others.
Discrimination occurs if the employer treats a job applicant or employee less favorably because the person has a history of disability or if the employer perceives the person to be disabled, whether true or not. Discrimination protections also extend to individuals who have a relationship with an individual who is disabled.
Ohio statutes define disability as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including the functions of caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working; a record of a physical or mental impairment; or being regarded as having a physical or mental impairment."
The ADA extends to businesses with 15 or more employees and to state and local government entities, while the Ohio statute covers employers with four or more employees.
Prohibited Acts of Discrimination
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which fields and investigates complaints of discrimination, states that the ADA forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.
The Ohio anti-discrimination statutes maintain that discrimination "includes, but is not limited to, segregating or separating, according different treatment, or taking actions fair in form but which have a disparate impact, on the basis of membership in a protected class."
Reasonable Accommodations Under the ADA
Under the ADA, employers must engage in an “interactive process” with a disabled employee if the employee seeks a reasonable accommodation to facilitate the completion of their job duties.
Accommodations can include physical modifications to the employee’s workspace and enabling features on computers and electronic devices that can read what’s on the screen. Dedicated parking, flexible work schedules, adjusting job tasks, and changing training materials are also examples.
The employer is not obligated to grant the specific accommodation requested if another one is available that accomplishes the same goal. The employer also does not have to grant an accommodation if it poses an “undue hardship” on the business.
Undue hardship generally means that the accommodation will be too costly for the business, threatening its financial viability. The EEOC notes, however, that the majority of accommodations cost less than $500.
Disability Discrimination Attorney Serving Akron, Ohio
If you believe you’ve been discriminated against because of a real or perceived disability, contact the Law Offices of F. Benjamin Riek III immediately. Attorney F. Benjamin Riek III will listen to your story, investigate the circumstances, and help you initiate the recovery process by filing a state or federal charge with the proper agency. He serves clients in Akron, Ohio, as well as Cleveland, Hudson, Canton, and Lorain.