Some kinds of discrimination are more obvious than others. Sexual harassment is often overt and hard to ignore. The same is true of many types of interpersonal discrimination in the workplace. The actions or words of other people make someone so uncomfortable that they can’t ignore the situation.
Other forms of discrimination are subtler and therefore easier for people to overlook. Systemic discrimination that involves organizational misconduct rather than a few bad apples can be much harder to spot.
For example, disability discrimination is a common occurrence in modern workplaces. Despite how often it occurs, many workers fail to stand up for themselves because they don’t recognize the most common form of disability discrimination. Employers may discriminate by refusing to accommodate workers with disabling medical conditions.
The law mandates reasonable accommodations
Provided that the employer is big enough for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to apply, companies should try to work with employees who have disabling medical conditions. They can achieve this goal by offering assistive technology, maintaining accessible facilities and altering job responsibilities in certain circumstances.
A worker’s acquired medical condition should not prevent them from securing or retaining a job, so long as they can do the necessary work with reasonable accommodations from the employer. Unfortunately, many companies will simply refuse to accommodate existing workers with functional limitations.
Unless the company can reasonably claim that the request would create an undue hardship, the refusal to offer basic accommodations could constitute disability discrimination. Workers who suffer career setbacks because of refused accommodations and similar forms of discrimination may have reason to take legal action against their employers.
Understanding what constitutes disability discrimination in the workplace may help people stand up for themselves.