Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Our Attorneys Can Protect Your Rights Under The Americans With Disabilities Act

Living with a disability adds layers of complexity to your life. In addition to the challenges or limitations associated with the disability itself, you also have to contend with how other people view you. If your disability is easily visible (such as one that requires the use of a wheelchair), people may underestimate your capabilities and assume you are not up to the job. If your disability is invisible (such as an autoimmune disorder or a mental health condition), people may doubt you have a disability and assume you are just seeking special treatment.

If you have experienced disability discrimination in the workplace, including an employer’s refusal to provide reasonable accommodations, the knowledgeable and caring attorneys at Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC can help you assert your rights and hold the at-fault parties accountable.

The Legislation That Changed Everything

Enacted in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. There are two main provisions of the ADA related to employment that are especially important. The first makes it illegal to discriminate against an employee or job candidate because of their disability or perceived disability. The second requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees/applicants with disabilities to allow them to perform essential job functions.

What Is A Reasonable Accommodation?

“Reasonable accommodation” was (perhaps purposely) left vague in the original legislation but has come to be defined through court rulings. An accommodation is an adjustment or modification to either the employee’s work environment or job parameters that allow that person to perform the job’s essential functions.

Accommodations are a straightforward concept. However, there is less clarity and more controversy over what is considered a “reasonable” accommodation. Court rulings and government guidance have found that a request should be considered reasonable unless it “poses an undue hardship” to the employer. This is often the crux of litigated disputes over accommodations.

Examples of reasonable accommodations include:

  • Adoption of screen reader technology to allow someone who is blind to use a computer
  • Allowing a cashier with arthritis to sit on a stool while working instead of being forced to stand all day
  • If a job requires lifting items of various weight, allowing employees with back problems to limit the weight of the loads they lift
  • Adjusting a desk to allow it to be used by an employee in a wheelchair

The ADA covers “qualified individuals with disabilities.” A disability is a mental or physical impairment that significantly limits one’s major life activities. A disability can be temporary or permanent. In cases where a woman suffers complications related to a pregnancy, she can be considered to have a disability while those complications persist.

Contact Us To Discuss Your Legal Options

Have you suffered employment discrimination because of a disability? Were you denied a reasonable accommodation by an employer? If so, Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC is ready to help you. Our Seattle-based firm is entirely devoted to representing Washington workers in employment disputes. To discuss your options in an initial consultation, call us at 206-536-2338 or send us an email.