The Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”)
Disability discrimination occurs when an employee is treated differently because he or she has a disability. People with disabilities are protected in the workplace and in other public places by the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. This legislation states that disabled people cannot be discriminated against, and that employers must make reasonable accommodations to allow people with disabilities to perform their job duties.
About the ADA
The ADA and FCRA prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Unlawful discrimination includes “not making reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability.” 42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(5)(A); see also Lenard v. A.L.P.H.A. “”A Beginning” Inc., 945 So.2d 618, 621 (Fla 2d DCA 2006). A majority of circuit courts of appeal, including the Eleventh Circuit, in a recent unpublished opinion, have held that the burden-shifting analysis of McDonnell Douglas v. Green, 411 U.S. 793 (1973), does not apply to reasonable accommodation cases under the ADA. See Nadler v. Harvey, 2007 WL 2404705, at *9 (11th Cir. Aug. 24, 2007)(“A majority of our sister circuit have been persuaded by [the need not to show discriminatory motivation in ADA accommodation cases] and we join them today and hold that McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting is not applicable to reasonable accommodation cases.”).
In Nadler, the Eleventh Circuit described the establishment of the plaintiff’s ADA case as follows:
Once a plaintiff has shown that he is an otherwise qualified disabled individual within the meaning of the Act and that a defendant has not provided a reasonable accommodation, a defendant must provide a reasonable accommodation unless he can assert an undue hardship as an affirmative defense. Undue hardship is an affirmative defense to be pled by an ADA defendant.
Nadler v. Harvey, 2007 WL 2404705, at *9.
Am I “Disabled”
A disability is defined as (a) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (b) a record of such impairment; or (c) being regarded as having such an impairment. 42 U.S.C. §12102(2); Sutton v. United Airlines, Inc., 119 S.Ct. 2139, 2144 (1999). An individual is deemed disabled for purposes of the ADA if she satisfies any one of these three enumerated definitions. Cook v. Robert G Waters, Inc., 980 F.Supp 1463 (M.D. Fla. 1997). Whether a person has a disability is an individualized inquiry. Id at 2147. (citing Bragdon v. Abbott, 524 U.S. 624, 118 S.Ct. 2196 (1998)). “The determination of whether an individual has a disability is not necessarily based on the name or diagnosis of the impairment the person has, but rather on the effect of that impairment on the life of that individual.” Id. (citing 29 C.F.R § 1630.2(j)).
Experienced ADA/Employment Law Attorneys
If you feel you have been denied a job opportunity or that your employer treats you differently or assumes that you cannot perform certain job duties because of your disability, you may be eligible to bring a job discrimination claim against that employer. Because filing a claim of this sort requires ample research and proof of facts, it is important for you to contact experienced employment law attorneys as soon as possible. The only way to end discrimination against people with disabilities is to fight stereotypes and the prejudice which goes along with them. Contacting the North Central Florida attorneys of Massey & Duffy, PLLC, could be your first step.
Let Us Help
If you may become involved in litigation as a result of unlawful disability discrimination and are looking for experienced legal counsel, contact Massey & Duffy, PLLC, today for a free consultation. We would be happy to discuss your legal situation and advise you on the best legal course of action.