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.
35 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that discrimination against pregnant women who wanted to continue working was not sex discrimination. Instead, the court said, it was merely discrimination between women who were pregnant and women who were not, which was not illegal.
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.
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.