Every person, with or without personal disabilities, is assured of a fair chance at a career of his/ her choice by the law. However, discrimination against people with disabilities occurs and goes unpunished if the involved victims lack the knowledge of the laws that ought to protect them. If a disabled person experiences discrimination or harassment in the workplace, he/ she can follow the legal avenues to get protection.
What can be considered as a discriminatory treatment of disabled persons?
Any act that denies a person with a disability a fair chance at employment can be considered as an unfair or discriminatory treatment. Such acts could comprise non-shortlisting for a job, denial to interview for a job, firing, non-promotion, extreme verbal or systemic harassment of disabled people, and denial of employment benefits on the basis of a disability, among others. Each of these discriminatory acts is outlined by the law and victimized people can sue their employers or workplace actors who discriminate against them.
Protection against disability discrimination
To ensure that a person with personal disabilities gets a fair chance at employment, especially in the initial stages of joining the workplace, employers are not allowed to ask a person to disclose his/ her medical or disability when applying or interviewing for the job in question. The law only allows such an employer to inquire about the medical condition of a potential employer about his/ her medical and disability history after extending an employment offer to that person. Still, such inquisition should be standard practice for all new employees and not just the person with a disability.
Additional protection/ provision in the workplace
Besides the protection against discrimination, the law requires employers to provide a reasonably safe and functional working environment for persons with disabilities to enable these employees to execute their duties with maximum dignity and results. Provision of a conducive working environment would comprise reading software or hardware for the disabled people who need such tools, and wheelchair-accessibility for the persons who use wheelchairs. In some instances, time off may be required by people with disabilities who must take such breaks for medication or care.
Conclusion: Legal representation
If a person with personal disabilities experiences discriminatory treatment, a legal practitioner should be consulted. Such a practitioner should check all the laws that the employer or other actors in the workplace have broken, and proceed to advise the person who has been discriminated against on the best course of action. Proceeding with a lawsuit against the discriminating culprits could result in compensatory rewards, reinstatement of a lost job and or additional benefits for an employee with personal disabilities as the courts may deem fit.