Living with Chronic Pain
What Options Does an Employee Have if Their Employer Violates the ADA?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. This includes employment practices such as hiring, promotions, job assignments, and firing. It also includes providing reasonable workplace accommodations to allow individuals with disabilities to apply for and perform essential functions of a job.
Determining if a violation occurred
If an employer violates the ADA by discriminating against an individual with a disability or failing to provide requested reasonable workplace accommodations, several steps can be taken by the employee. The most integral step is to ensure a violation actually occurred. For instance, employers with fewer than 15 employees are not subject to the ADA, so they cannot be in violation of the law. Researching the ADA or discussing the situation with an attorney can help determine if a violation has occurred.
Handling a violation internally
When a violation occurs, some employees may choose to handle the situation internally through communication with a supervisor or the company’s human resources department. Whenever possible, complaints should be submitted in writing. The employee should document any discussions or communication about the situation and keep copies of any documentation in a safe place. Employees should maintain professionalism during any interactions regarding the violation.
Reporting a violation to the EEOC
If an employee chooses not to handle the situation internally or if efforts to do so are not successful, the employee can contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In general, this contact needs to be made within 180 days of the violation. Employees can file a charge of employment discrimination through the EEOC Public Portal or can contact one of the EEOC offices located throughout the United States.
Individuals who have experienced workplace discrimination during the application process are often entitled to a position they would have been offered if the discrimination had not occurred. Current or past employees may be entitled to position reinstatement, promotion, or back pay. In some cases, employers who fail to comply with the ADA may be sued by the U.S. Department of Justice. A first offense can incur fines up to $75,000. Fines for any future offenses can be up to $110,000.