How Can I Resolve a Case of Disability Discrimination at Work?

Every year, tens of thousands of people file complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) about experiencing discrimination at work because of their disabilities.

Employers are not legally allowed to treat you differently or negatively because of a health impairment.

Every day at Geary Disability Law in Wisconsin, we stand up for people with limiting health conditions by helping them apply for Social Security Disability benefits when their health problems leave them completely unable to work.

Benefits provide a measure of financial stability and peace after life doesn’t go as planned.

We also strongly believe that people with disabilities who are still in the workforce deserve fair treatment.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss disability discrimination at work and what you can do to resolve a problem with an employer behaving wrongly toward your disability status or medical condition.

Forms of Disability Discrimination You Can Face at Work

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it’s illegal for employers to treat employees less favorably than others because of health impairments.

The EEOC, which enforces laws against workplace discrimination, describes several types of wrongful employment discrimination based on disability:

      • Discrimination in hiring


      • Unfair treatment in firing or layoffs


      • Unequal pay


      • Negative biases in deciding promotions


      • Job assignment discrimination


      • Disparities in training opportunities


      • Disparities in fringe benefits


      • Harassment due to disability (including patterns of offensive comments or teasing)


      • Failure to provide reasonable accommodation (such as adaptive equipment or wheelchair accessibility) that doesn’t overly burden the employer

      Not only are employers prohibited from discriminating based on disability, they are required to adapt their workplace for people with different needs, as long as the accommodations are within the employer’s means to provide.

      Failing to cooperate with these workplace accommodations is another form of discrimination.

      At the same time, employers can’t ask you about a disability except for certain legitimate reasons. If they violate any of these points, you have options to stand up for your rights.

      What to Do if You Face Workplace Disability Discrimination

      If you’re facing workplace discrimination based on a disability, you can follow several steps to address and correct this mistreatment:

          • Report the problem to a manager or the human resources department at your job.


          • File a formal complaint with your employer, especially if your initial report didn’t lead to action.


          • File a complaint with the federal EEOC and/or the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. This step precedes suing.


          • File a lawsuit against your employer.

          To file an EEOC complaint or a lawsuit, you’ll need to work with an employment lawyer.

          At Geary Disability Law, we don’t handle this type of case, but we may be able to refer you to an experienced attorney who can.

          Our disability law firm fights in another way for the needs of people in Wisconsin with severe health impairments and disabilities.

          What Happens When My Health Impairment Means I Can’t Work

          At a certain point, when it’s impossible for you to work because of health problems—and you have to decide to leave the workforce to take care of yourself, not because your employer is wrongly forcing you out—you can seek financial assistance in the form of Social Security Disability benefits.

          Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provide monthly basic income and access to government-run health care through Medicare or Medicaid.

          These benefits are crucial to maintaining stability, independence and a sense of dignity when you can’t work because of health problems.

          But they are hard to get. Less than a third of people who apply nationally win benefits.

          Disability attorneys help people get past these obstacles and receive the support they need—and deserve.

          If you need help securing disability benefits, get in touch with us at Geary Disability Law.

          Written by a Geary Disability Law contributor.

          Disclaimer: Blog entries are not intended to be a substitute for actual legal advice. It is important for a representative to understand the specific facts and circumstances of your case before they can provide you actual legal advice. If you have questions about your Social Security Disability benefits, please contact a qualified representative to discuss your case.

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