Employees are protected against disability discrimination in the workplace under Florida disability laws. Workers have the right to be treated equally and fairly, and employers should be held accountable for violating the law.
Do you know your workplace rights?
What is Disability Discrimination?
Disability discrimination in the workplace occurs when people are treated differently at work because of a disability or a perceived disability. This includes all areas of employment, such as wages, raises, promotions, health insurance, and other aspects of the job.
The Florida Civil Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate against someone with a disability. This Act does not have a direct definition of the term disability, but the federal law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), defines the term as:
- A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities
- Having a record (history) of such an impairment
- Being regarded by others (in this case, the employer) as having an impairment
When there is a case of disability discrimination in the workplace, employee rights lawyers will typically use the definition of a disability utilized by the ADA when negotiating with employers or going to court.
Who Does the Florida Civil Rights Act Cover?
The Florida Civil Rights Act covers workers who are employed with private and public employers with fifteen or more employees. This includes all levels of positions and many types of jobs and industries. Small employers with fewer than fifteen employees are not covered under the Act. County and City Ordinances may apply and cover smaller employers.
What Are Other Florida Disability Laws?
Florida has additional laws that cover workplace rights if you work in the public sector, such as in a county government job. Here are two additional Florida disability laws that protect employees from disability discrimination in the workplace:
Public Employment Discrimination Law: prohibiting discrimination in municipal and county employment based on a disability if the individual is the ablest and competent to perform the work that the job requires
Vocational Rehabilitation Law: prohibiting discrimination by public employers against individuals with a disability (including workers who use a service animal)
All of these laws are designed to promote equality in the workplace and ensure that employers do not discriminate against their employees. But unfortunately, disability discrimination in the workplace is not uncommon.
What Are Examples of Disability Discrimination?
- There are a wide variety of actions that can occur that could be considered disability discrimination. Some examples include:
- Not giving an employee a promotion who was the most qualified and able to perform duties required for the job
- Paying an employee a lower wage than others who do not have a disability that is performing the exact same job
- Retaliating against an employee because they asked for reasonable accommodation in the workplace (such as a demotion, termination, or assigning additional duty assignments that were not part of the job description)
- Refusing to offer an employee health care coverage due to a disability when health care coverage is offered to other employees
These are just a few examples of what could be considered disability discrimination in the workplace. If you believe your workplace rights have been violated, it is important to consult with an employment lawyer.
How Do You Prove Disability Discrimination?
An experienced and skilled employment law attorney will leverage the power of Florida disability laws as well as the ADA to prove a case of disability discrimination. First, the employee must meet the definition of having a disability as described by law. Then, the next steps will depend on your case. Have you been harassed at work due to a disability? Were you refused “reasonable accommodations,” such as a change in the work environment, that would not place an undue burden on a business?
Varying strategies, including proving a hostile work environment, can be utilized to great effect by your workplace rights attorney. Once the attorney thoroughly analyzes the details of what happened, they will determine the best strategy to hold your employer accountable.
What Are Some of the Typical Remedies to a Case of Disability Discrimination in the Workplace?
When you have a dedicated workplace rights attorney on your side, they will work diligently throughout every step of the case for you. Some of the typical remedies to a case of disability discrimination include:
- Reinstatement to your job with all pay and benefits
- Compensatory damages
- Back pay from termination to the settlement or verdict
- Other compensation including emotional or punitive damages
When dealing with disability discrimination in the workplace, having an experienced and skilled employee rights attorney is key to getting the best outcome in your case.
Contact a Florida Employee Rights Lawyer Today
If you have been discriminated against at the workplace due to a disability, contact an employee rights lawyer today.
Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. handles Florida disability discrimination cases. We fight aggressively for our clients to hold employers who violate the ADA and Florida disability laws accountable for their actions.