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I'm disabled. Am I protected from employment discrimination?

Disabled workers in Missouri have some specific protections put in place to protect them from being discriminated against in seeking employment and also while on the job. Below are some of the provisions under Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Are disabled workers protected from employment discrimination?

Under the provisions of the ADA, most private sector and public qualified employees are protected from discrimination during the hiring process and any other conditions or terms of their employment, which include but are not limited to:

-- rate of pay

-- work assignments

-- training

-- promotions

-- layoffs

-- termination

-- benefits

What about workplace harassment?

Applicants and workers cannot be harassed due to their past or present disabilities. While offensive remarks are considered harassment, a disabled employee isn't protected from teasing, minor isolated incidents and offhand remarks. Protections are in place when a hostile work environment is created by the frequent or severe harassment or if an employee is demoted or terminated because of their disability.

Who is prohibited from harassing disabled workers?

Co-workers, supervisors (even those not over the employee) and even customers and clients cannot harass disabled employees.

Are all employees afflicted with medical conditions covered under the ADA?

No. To be covered under the provisions of the ADA, the workers must have a disability that meets the legal definitions and also be qualified to perform the job duties. To be considered legally disabled, the worker must have:

-- Physical or mental conditions that cause a substantial limit to major activities of life, like seeing, talking, walking, hearing or learning.

-- A past history of some disability like cancer that may now be in remission.

-- The belief that they have a mental or physical impairment that is expected to last more than six months and is not minor.

There are many other specifications that must be met in order to fall under the protection of the ADA, both for the employee and the employer. A Missouri employment law attorney may be able to provide information and guidance to those with further questions.

Source: ADA in the Workplace, "Overview of ADA Employment Guidelines" Sep. 22, 2014

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