Top-Rated Disability Discrimination Attorney Representing Employees Throughout New Jersey
In 1990, Congress passed and President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA was created to eliminate barriers to employment for people with disabilities. Although many American businesses have made great strides to eliminate discrimination against disabled individuals in the nearly 30 years since many others are still not trying hard enough.
At Zatuchni & Associates, our New Jersey disability accommodations lawyers provide legal services to workers who have suffered discrimination based on a disability or injuries because an employer refused to make adequate accommodations in the workplace. If you have any questions or concerns about disability discrimination in the workplace, we are available to help. Contact us today to schedule a free, completely confidential review of your employment law claim.
What is a Disability?
To have legal rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an employee must first establish that they have a qualifying disability. Notably, the ADA defines the term disability in a relatively broad manner. For the purposes of the law, “disability” means:
- A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of the individual.
The kinds of major life activities that can be substantially limited for a disability to exist under the ADA include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, working, and the operation of a major bodily function.
In short, the ADA (and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, for that matter) define disability broadly to cover a wide range of physical, mental, and, in some cases, emotional conditions. Do not assume that you have no rights under the law. If you have questions about whether or not you have a qualifying disability or what documentation you need to establish disability, our New Jersey employment lawyer can help.
You Deserve to Be Judged on Individual Merits—Not Stereotypes and Preconceptions
Unfortunately, many people—employers, managers, co-workers, customers, and others—have preconceived notions in their heads about what a disabled employee can and cannot do. In some cases, they will use these stereotypes and presumptions to make employment decisions. You deserve better. The Americans With Disabilities Act and other regulations exist to ensure that employees are assessed on their individual merits, abilities, and qualifications, not merely on stereotypes.
State and Federal Law Prohibit Discrimination on the Basis of Disability
The ADA makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate against a person on the basis of disability in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, or other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. State law provides similar protections. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer, because of the disability of any individual, to:
- Refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge that individual;
- To require that individual to retire; or
- To otherwise discriminate against that individual in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.
In effect, this means that it is unlawful for an employer to take any adverse action against you because of disability status. If you were treated less favorably than similarly qualified co-workers and you believe that your disability was the reason, you should speak to an attorney. Our disability accommodations lawyers serve clients throughout New Jersey seeking financial recovery and justice through the legal system. We will review your case, explain your rights, and help you take the next steps in the process.
Disability Discrimination and Failure to Make Reasonable Accommodations
Under the ADA, employers have a proactive responsibility to ensure that disabled employees receive full and fair access to workplace opportunities. As part of its prohibition on disability discrimination, the ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee. Disability accommodations can include:
- Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities;
- Job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, or reassignment to a vacant position;
- Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices;
- Appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials, or policies;
- The provision of qualified readers or interpreters; and
- Other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.
A reasonable accommodation is a modification or adjustment to the workplace that allows a disabled worker full and fair access. As a simple example, an employer may be required to provide a wheelchair-accessible office and desk to a disabled employee. Under the ADA, a job applicant or employee has the right to request an accommodation. Though, an employer is not required to provide any specific accommodations. Instead, an employer must engage in a good faith bargaining process to find a reasonable accommodation that actually offers a disabled worker full and fair access to opportunities in the workplace.
Know What You are Up Against: The Undue Hardship Defense
In general, an employer can only escape the requirement to make reasonable disability accommodations if the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business. Indeed, in most accommodation cases, businesses and organizations try to raise this legal defense. Undue hardship is an action requiring significant difficulty and expense when considered in light of the following factors:
- The Accommodation: As a starting point, a court will always consider the nature and cost of the accommodation. The more expensive, the more likely it is to be considered an undue burden.
- The Workplace: The undue burden standard is flexible. An accommodation that poses an extreme burden to a small business may be deemed wholly reasonable for a large corporation. The overall financial resources of the facility or facilities involved in the provision of the reasonable accommodation; the number of persons employed there; the effect on expenses and resources, or the impact of such accommodation on the facility’s operation.
- The Employer: The overall financial resources of the employer; the number of employees who work for the employer; the number, type, and location of its facilities. Once again, the greater the resources of the employer, the more likely a proposed accommodation is reasonable.
- The Operations: The type of operations of the employer, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce; the geographic separateness, administrative, or fiscal relationship of the facility in question to the employer.
We Handle the Full Range of Disability Discrimination Claims
Our employment law firm handles the complete range of disability discrimination cases. No matter your circumstances, we are qualified to help. In the past, disability discrimination lawsuits have covered requests for the following accommodations:
- A shorter workweek or different work hours;
- Time off to go to medical appointments;
- Adaptive equipment to make job duties possible or to prevent aggravating existing injuries; and
- Adaptation of job duties or procedures.
If you believe your employer did not make a reasonable effort to accommodate your disability after you requested an accommodation, talk to a New Jersey disability accommodations attorney at our firm to get a professional opinion about how the courts have ruled in cases similar to yours.
Serious Illness Discrimination and Your Rights Under the FMLA
In addition to the protections offered under the ADA and Law Against Discrimination, workers with serious illness are also covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA is a federal law that provides unpaid, job-protected leave to workers at many mid-sized and large U.S. companies.
Under the FMLA, you have the right to return after a certain time to your employer, even if it is to a different job. If you’ve come back from medical leave only to find yourself unemployed, you may be eligible for back and front pay and any related damages. Contact us and talk with an attorney to understand your disability rights.
You Can Trust New Jersey Disability Discrimination Lawyer David Zatuchni
Disability discrimination claims are complicated. If you have questions or concerns about your rights under the law, you are certainly not alone. David Zatuchni is a top-rated New Jersey employment attorney with extensive experience in disability discrimination law. Mr. Zatuchni is a fierce advocate for employee rights. When you get in touch with our firm, you will have a chance to speak to a New Jersey disability discrimination lawyer who will:
- Conduct a free, in-depth assessment of your case;
- Answer your questions about the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA);
- Investigate your case—securing and organizing all evidence; and
- Take whatever action is needed to protect your rights and get you the best outcome.
We know that no two disability discrimination cases are identical. You need personalized guidance and attention from an attorney who is fully invested in your case. With a proven record of settlements and verdicts across a wide range of employment law claims, our trial-tested New Jersey discrimination law team is ready to get you results.
Call Our New Jersey Disability Discrimination Attorney Today
At Zatuchni & Associates, our New Jersey disability discrimination lawyer is a compassionate and effective advocate for employee rights. You deserve fair opportunities in the workplace. If you have any questions about disability discrimination, we are more than ready to help. Contact our team today to set up a free review of your case. From our legal offices in Morristown and Lambertville, we handle disability discrimination and failure to accommodate claims throughout the State of New Jersey.
Learn more about disability discrimination claims in New Jersey:
Past Zatuchni & Associates Newsletters
Mental Illness Discrimination in the NJ Workplace: Your Rights
How Long Does a Discrimination Case Take?
Do I Have to Tell My Boss About My Medical Condition? If I Do, What Are My Privacy Rights?
Your Annual Performance Evaluation: Some Legal Considerations