A disability doesn’t automatically signify an inability to work. If you are disabled and still able to perform your essential job duties, then you have the legal right to do so without discrimination. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reports that in 2012, close to 18 percent of the nation’s disabled was employed. Regrettably, the knowledge that disabled persons regularly fulfill their employment roles every day, doesn’t prevent frequent on-the-job discrimination against disabled workers. At Castronovo & McKinney, our New Jersey Disability Discrimination Lawyers are passionate about helping workers with disabilities to enforce their rights and fight discrimination.
Disability Discrimination in NJ
The federal Americans with Disabilities Act and New Jersey state law bans employers from discriminating against workers with disabilities if the employee is capable of performing his job functions with reasonable accommodations. The law protects workers with physical, mental and pregnancy-related disabilities. To receive this protection the disabled employee must be a qualified individual with a disability as defined by law. The law both prohibits discrimination and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified disabled workers, as long as this does not inflict an undue hardship on the employer.
New Jersey Law
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination addresses many types of discrimination in the state, including treatment of disabled persons in the employment field. Your employer or potential employer is not allowed to harass you or discriminate against you in hiring procedures, employment activities or termination policies, if you are a disabled worker who is capable of performing the essential functions of your job. In 2009, almost 40% of working age adults with any type of disability were employed in New Jersey. This is in comparison to just over 75% of the working age adults with no disability who worked.
Common Questions Clients Ask Us About Disability Discrimination In NJ
• Do all buildings need to be handicap accessible in order to be disability compliant at my place of work?
• Is it possible to be a victim of disability discrimination if I work for the government?
• Does number of employees dictate my options for disability discrimination against my employer?
• I applied for a job but believe I was discriminated against based on my disability, what are my rights?
• Do I have to notify my employer or potential employer of my disability?
• Am I protected against disability discrimination if I am an alcoholic?
• If my spouse has a disability is it possible that I may be discriminated against for employment?
• My employer is refusing to make reasonable accommodations to the workplace in order for me to be able to perform my job based on my disability, what are my rights?
• I was fired due to not being able to perform my job based on my disability, what are my rights?
We can help you protect and defend your legal rights against disability discrimination in New Jersey. Call Castronovo and McKinney, LLC today to receive a free consultation or fill out our confidential form to the right to get immediate help.
What does the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 cover in regard to disability discrimination in New Jersey?
• The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations in the United States.
What does the Americans with Disabilities Act define as an individual with a disability?
• The individual has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. They have a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment.
What is a qualified employee with a disability in New Jersey?
• A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question.
What is required of employers for a reasonable accommodation for a disability in New Jersey?
• Reasonable accommodations are adjustments or modifications that are provided by an employer to enable people with disabilities to equal employment opportunities. Employers must make existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. Employers must make the job restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position. Lastly, acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies, and providing qualified readers or interpreters.
What are some examples of reasonable accommodations for a person with disabilities?
Reasonable accommodations vary depending upon the needs of the individual disabled applicant or employee. Not all people with disabilities may require the same accommodations. Some examples of reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities include:
• A deaf employee may need a sign language interpreter during the job interview.
• A diabetic employee may need regularly scheduled breaks during the workday to eat properly and monitor blood sugar and insulin levels.
• A blind employee may need someone to read information posted in the office.
• An employee with cancer may need leave to have radiation or chemotherapy treatments.
What if my New Jersey employer cannot afford my reasonable accommodations as a disabled individual?
• If the changes that need to be made for an individual’s reasonable accommodations cause the employer undue hardship, the employer is not responsible for making these accommodations. Many factors go into determining undue hardship and it is an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an employer’s size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation. They also do not have to lower quality of production standards in order to provide such accommodations. If the employer has several options for choosing reasonable accommodations they may choose one of lesser expense or one that is easier to provide. Generally employers do not have to provide reasonable accommodations unless an employee asks for one. Our New Jersey employment lawyers can review your case and discuss your legal options.
Is it considered disability discrimination if at an interview my potential New Jersey employer asks about my medical examinations in regard to potential or existing disabilities?
• Employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. Job applicants may however be asked about their ability to perform specific job functions. Employers also may offer a job conditioned on the results of a medical examination, but only if the examination is required for all entering employees in similar jobs. Medical examinations of employees must be job related and consistent with the employers business needs.
Is it considered disability discrimination in NJ if my employer asks to see my medical file in regard to my disabilities?
• Medical records are confidential and it is with limited exceptions, employers must keep confidential any medical information they learn about an applicant or employee. Information can be confidential even if it contains no medical diagnosis or treatment course and even if it is not generated by a health care professional.
Is it considered disability discrimination if my employer asks if I am engaging in illegal use of drugs in regard to my disabilities?
• The illegal use of drugs are not covered by the ADA for either employees or applicants. Tests for illegal drugs are not subject to the ADAs restrictions on medical examinations. Employers may hold illegal drug users and alcoholics to the same performance standards as other employees.
Can my employer retaliate against me based on if I file a report of disability discrimination?
• It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on disability or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under the ADA.
About Castronovo & McKinney, Employment Attorneys
The legal team at the Law Firm of Castronovo & McKinney helps workers throughout New Jersey when they are dealing with disability discrimination and the inability to obtain reasonable accommodations to allow them to perform their jobs. We have extensive experience in the employment law field, and we are committed to using our expertise to protect the rights of and ensure justice for workers who are subject to unlawful treatment.
If you are a disabled worker dealing with discrimination, let the dedicated New Jersey Disability Discrimination Lawyers of Castronovo & McKinney fight for you. Contact our Morristown, New Jersey office at 978.920.7888 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced New Jersey discrimination attorneys.