Disability discrimination and/or harassment occurs when individuals are treated adversely in the terms and conditions of employment because of disability, perceived disability, or association with an individual with a disability. Disabilities can manifest as physical or mental impairments.

Some examples of disability discrimination may include:

Discriminating on the basis of physical or mental disability in various aspects of employment, including: recruitment, firing, hiring, training, job assignments, promotions, pay, benefits, lay off, leave and all other employment-related activities.

Harassing an employee on the basis of his or her disability.

Asking job applicants questions about their past or current medical conditions, or requiring job applicants to take medical exams.

Creating or maintaining a workplace that includes substantial physical barriers to the movement of people with physical disabilities.

Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees with physical or mental disability that would allow them to work.

Most instances of disability discrimination involve reasonable accommodation and time off from work because of the disability. For example, Kristi suffers from severe and debilitating migraine headaches that occur 1-4 times per month. When Kristi has a migraine attack, which she cannot predict, she must call in sick. Her employer has implemented a point system. Under the point system, each unplanned absence earns one point. Employees who accumulate five points in one year are terminated. Kristi has four points when she calls in sick because of a migraine. Her employer terminates her. In this instance, the employer’s policy and practice could be in violation of disability discrimination laws.

HIV and AIDS are illnesses that come with certain unpleasant stereotypes held by people, namely co-workers and management. The misconceptions and stereotypes associated with HIV/AIDS adversely impacts those fighting the illness in many areas of life and often the workplace is no exception. In certain industries, the discrimination is more severe with employment decisions being based on irrational and unfounded fears. If you or someone you love has been discriminated at work because of HIV/AIDS status, we are here to help.

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