According to federal, state and many local laws in the Philadelphia area, if a qualified person with a disability is able to perform essential functions of a job, an employer cannot discriminate on the basis of that disability. An employer must also provide reasonable accommodations to enable people with disabilities to perform certain job functions.
Philadelphia Area Lawyer for Disability Discrimination
If you have a disability in Pennsylvania, including the Philadelphia area, New Jersey or New York and have experienced discrimination in the workplace or when seeking employment, you may have a claim.
The law provides for injunction relief, including requiring a company to hire you, reinstate you or make reasonable accommodations, as well as monetary damages, including both front pay and back pay, emotional distress damages, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees and costs.
Our Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Philadelphia disability discrimination lawyers at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC can assist you. We represent qualified employees who have experienced adverse employment decisions due to a disability. Our attorneys have been recognized for our skill in representing our clients. Call us today at 215-545-7676 to set up a consultation.
We have offices in Philadelphia and in Moorestown, New Jersey. We represent clients throughout the Greater Philadelphia area, including in Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster and Bucks Counties and employees throughout New Jersey, including, but not limited to, Camden, Burlington, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May Counties. We also represent clients in New York.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 is a federal law that prohibits an employer with 15 or more employees from discriminating against a person qualified for a job because that person has a disability.
A disability is defined as a real or perceived physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one of more life activities. It can include a condition that limits mobility, impairments in sight or hearing, a psychological condition, a mental disability, a chronic condition like epilepsy or HIV, or more.
It also includes people have a history of any impairment. For instance, a qualified employer may not decline to hire a person because he or she has had cancer and they are concerned it will recur.
A person is “qualified” if he or she has the education, skill, experience or other qualifications essential to the job functions for the position the employer is seeking to fill. For example, if typing is an essential job function, then the person must be able to type, with or without a reasonable accommodation accommodation.
A perceived disability is one that may not actually be substantially limiting, but the employer believes that it does. A Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York or Philadelphia employer who perceives an employee as disabled and takes adverse action against the employee may be liable for disability discrimination.
State and Local Protections for Workers with Disabilities
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) also covers employment discrimination on the basis of disability. The law prohibits discrimination based on a “non-job related handicap or disability.” The law defines such a disability as one that does not substantially interfere with the ability of the person to perform the essential job functions of the position he or she is seeking to fill or currently working in. A disabled person is entitled to a reasonable accommodation in order to be able to perform the essential functions of their job, unless the employer can show an undue hardship.
The definition in the law specifically states that incurring a higher cost of insurance does not make a disability job related. It also specifically allows for service animals.
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination also prohibits discrimination in employment based on disability or atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, including sickle cell, Tay-Sachs or cystic fibrosis. It is defined as any physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness. It also includes many mental, psychological or developmental disabilities, as well as HIV/AIDS.
Some cities or local governments also have prohibitions on discrimination based on a disability. If you live in Philadelphia, for example, you are covered by the ADA, the PHRA and Philadelphia’s anti-discrimination ordinance. Choosing under which laws to pursue a claim may depend on which law best covers your specific circumstances, and which law has the best remedies available. Console Mattiacci Law, LLC can thoroughly explain the different laws and agencies that exist to protect you from disability discrimination.
The law requires employers to make “reasonable accommodations” for qualified individuals. A reasonable accommodation is one that enables the person with a disability to perform the essential functions of a job.
A reasonable accommodation may be one that address issues with physical access. For example, an employer may need to make structural changes, like installing a ramp or enlarging doors, or purchase new equipment, like magnifying devices or software for computer screens if the qualified employee is visually impaired. Tax credits are available to assist employers with costs.
Reasonable accommodations may also include reasonable restructuring of job functions or an employee’s break or leave time. For example, a condition may require an employee to take a break every few hours.
If an employer refuses to make a reasonable accommodation, remedies under the ADA include an injunction to require them to do so, and back pay if the employee was denied the ability to work due to the refusal, as well as other compensatory damages..
Console Mattiacci Law, LLC ǀ Philadelphia Disability Discrimination Lawyers
If you’ve been the subject of an adverse employment decision, including refusal to hire, termination, being passed over for promotion or harassment, due to a real or perceived disability and you’re qualified to do the job, you may have been the victim of illegal discrimination.
Our dedicated Philadelphia employment lawyers at Console Mattiacci Law, LLC can represent you in seeking redress. It is vital that you act soon, as some employment laws have very strict deadlines that require action within 180 days. Call us today at 215-545-7676 to set up a consultation.