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Your Rights as a Disabled Employee in the Workplace

Posted by B&F System Admin | Aug 12, 2016

If you are a disabled person, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may protect you from workplace discrimination related to your disability. If you feel you have been treated unfairly because of your condition, Atlanta's foremost employment attorneys at Barrett & Farahany, LLP are here to help.

What is a Disability?

You may be legally disabled if you have a substantial physical or mental impairment that significantly limits your ability to perform daily activities, work, or care for yourself. Disabilities under the ADA may include conditions such as deafness, blindness, physical impairment, difficulty walking or moving, or mental illness.

Disability Protection in the Workplace

To be protected under the ADA, you must be qualified and able to do the essential functions of your job with or without accommodation. In addition, the ADA may also protect employees who are not disabled, but who are perceived as disabled by their employer. To establish a case for disability discrimination, you must be able to show that (1) your condition (or perceived condition) is substantial, (2) the condition limits (or is perceived to limit) your abilities, (3) your employer knew about (or assumed you had) the condition and (4) your employer took action against you for the condition (or perceived condition).

What Does Disability Discrimination Look Like?

Disability Discrimination may include:

  • Firing an employee for being disabled
  • Denying an employee a promotion because of a disability
  • Refusing to hire someone because of a disability
  • Harassing an employee about a disability
  • Denying a disabled employee reasonable accommodations
  • Treating an employee as disabled when they are not

Reasonable Accommodations

If you need a reasonable accommodation to be able to perform the essential functions of your job, your employer is obligated to engage in the interactive process with you to determine how they can best help you continue to do meaningful work. If you are no longer able to do the essential functions you were hired to do, your employer may be required to offer you a different position as an accommodation. If you believe your employer has not responded appropriately to your request for a reasonable accommodation, you should consult with an attorney.

Can My Employer Make Me Take a Medical Exam?

Employers are not allowed to ask about your disability during the hiring process and cannot compel you to take a medical exam unless they require all applicants to take such an exam. Your employer is allowed to ask you if you are capable of performing the duties you are being hired to perform, and may also ask you to demonstrate how you would perform your duties (with or without accommodation).

After you have been hired, your employer may not question you about your disability or force you to take a medical exam that is not required of other employees or directly related to your job and conducted for a necessary business purpose.

If you have additional questions about disability discrimination and would like a complimentary consultation with an attorney, call Barrett & Farahany today at (404) 238-7299.

About the Author


When you reach out to us, you will receive a complimentary consultation with one of our skilled Atlanta employment attorneys. During our initial consultation with you, we can help you to better understand your rights and will work with you to determine what course of action is in your best interest. We take great pride in providing assistance based on years of experience negotiating and litigating employment matters to protect employee interests. If you find yourself in need of dedicated legal representation, we are prepared to advocate on your behalf – our goal is always to protect employee victims of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.