The Americans with Disabilities Act expressly prohibits employers from discriminating against disabled people in all employment practices ranging from hiring and firing to promotions and job assignments. Furthermore, this landmark federal law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations such that disabled employees can perform the essential functions of their job.
A highly-negative series in the Star Tribune has put the Minnesota Board of Nursing on edge. As we discussed early last month, the Star Tribune series uncovered a few hundred cases in which nurses were still working despite misdemeanor records that may disqualify them from direct patient care, and a few accused of serious misconduct.
Every workplace creates a culture, and a positive one can support and energize employees. Even in the absence of discrimination or harassment, a poor one can be draining, disaffecting, or even antagonistic. With the recent controversy over whether the Miami Dolphins’ locker room culture, a lot of people have been thinking about workplace culture and its effect on employees.
The goal of our nation’s laws against discrimination is simply to give qualified people a fair chance at obtaining the employment they’re interested in. All most people want is an opportunity to prove they’re qualified to do the work and, if they are, have an equal shot at getting hired and fair treatment from their employers. Workplace discrimination takes those chances away.
In 1998, a postal worker at a facility in Washington, D.C. filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He said that the United States Postal Service had refused to reasonably accommodate his disability, which was hearing impairment. After mediating with the EEOC, the USPS promised to provide the man with the American Sign Language interpreter he needed to do his job.
In Jan. 2011, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission won a lawsuit against Supervalu/Jewel Foods after the company terminated 110 people with disabilities after they ran out of leave time, and refused to provide reasonable accommodation for those who tried to return after a disability-related leave of absence. This was a clear violation of employees' rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.
Dillard's, Inc., the department store chain that operates nearly 300 stores in 29 states, has just settled a class action lawsuit accusing it of forcing workers to reveal their private medical information if they needed to take sick time. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the class action four years ago claiming that the policy was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Actress Jennifer Esposito, a series regular on the CBS hit show "Blue Bloods," suffers from celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that prevents the absorption of certain nutrients. It can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to fatigue, weakness, and malnutrition. Her doctor has recommended she work a reduced schedule, but CBS allegedly refused to allow that.
It goes without saying that countless people with disabilities have gone to law school and had successful, productive careers as attorneys. While disability discrimination is certainly a problem for some people, there is no reason many people with disabilities would be unable to perform as lawyers.
The long-time chief executive officer of home décor retailer Tuesday Morning Corp. has filed a disability discrimination and wrongful termination complaint with the EEOC against her former company. The woman, who had been CEO of the company since July 2000, was fired in June, shortly after disclosing to the board of directors that she was suffering from breast cancer.