Disability Discrimination Lawyers in Texas
Texas disability discrimination lawyers help clients in disability discrimination claims in Texas workplaces. An employer discriminates against an employee or applicant under disability discrimination laws when it:
- Treats an employee or applicant with a qualified disability less favorably than those without a qualified disability;
- Regards an employee or applicant as having a qualified disability and treats that person less favorably than other applicants or employees;
- Treats an employee or applicant with a history of a disability less favorably than those without such a history;
- Fails to provide a reasonable accommodation for a qualified disability.
Disability discrimination is an unlawful form of discrimination under both federal and Texas employment law. If you believe your employer may have discriminated against you, then you should talk to Texas employment discrimination lawyers right away. Disability discrimination is prohibited under several laws including:
- Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) which broadly prohibits disability discrimination
- Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) which expanded the definition of disability under the ADA
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which prohibits disability discrimination by the federal government and government contractors
- Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code which closely follows the Americans with Disabilities Act
In Texas most disability discrimination claims fall within the ADA/ADAAA and Texas Labor Code; however, your disability discrimination lawyer will consider all options to pursue your claims.
Who is disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
To be protected by the ADA, a person must be qualified for the job he or she is performing or seeking to perform (with or without a reasonable accommodation) and prove he or she is disabled or regarded as disabled in one of three ways:
- The person has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity;
- The person has a history of a disability;
- Or the person is regarded as having an impairment.
Although these terms appear obvious the legal meaning of each element is complex. Texas disability discrimination lawyers battle in disability discrimination lawsuits over their meaning and the application of facts.
In addition to prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees and applicants because of a disability, the ADA also requires employers to:
- Establish procedures to maintain medical records and request medical testing related to an employee’s or applicant’s disability;
- Reasonably accommodate a disability when requested by the employee or applicant.
An employer also may not retaliate against an employee for opposing discrimination or otherwise participates in a protected activity, such as cooperating with an investigation of a disability discrimination claim.
How disability discrimination occurs in the Texas workplace
Disability discrimination is prohibited in the employment relationship from hiring practices through termination. Common ways disability discrimination can occur:
- Job advertisements
- Application processes and applicant screening
- Pre-employment inquires
- Job assignments and promotions
- Compensation (both pay and benefits)
- Disciplinary practices
- Refusal to provide a reasonable accommodation
Disability discrimination may occur through harassment, also known as a hostile work environment. Harassment occurs when the workplace becomes hostile through the acts of coworkers or management. Harassment can occur through words, pictures, emails, job assignments, threats and even physical contact. These claims are challenging claims because courts have interpreted the law narrowly so that the harassment must reach a high level before an employee can prevail. If you believe you suffered unlawful harassment at work then contact Texas employment lawyers right away.
Disability discrimination can occur through retaliation. Your employer may also retaliate against you for requesting an accommodation or bringing claims of disability discrimination to the attention of management, HR, or a government agency. This retaliation is unlawful and creates an independent claim against your employer. Your right to work free from disability discrimination includes the right to report unlawful discrimination and protect your rights.
Disability discrimination may occur when your employer refuses to provide a reasonable accommodation. Under the ADA and Texas Labor Code, if you have a qualified disability you are entitled to request a reasonable accommodation that assists you in accessing the workplace or in performing the essential functions of the job. That accommodation must be reasonable, so it may not impose an undue hardship on your employer.
Your employer does not have to provide the accommodation you request as long as it offers one that is reasonable and accomplishes the goal. It is your duty to inform your employer of your need of the accommodation. Your employer must engage in an interactive process to determine the appropriate accommodation. If your employer refuses to engage you in that process, that is good evidence that the employer refused to accommodate. If your employer takes negative action against your job because you requested an accommodation or because the employer provided it, that is retaliation prohibited under the ADA.
Remedies for disability discrimination in Texas
The law provides remedies to make a victim of disability discrimination whole. These remedies can range from requiring the employer to hire/reinstate/promote/etc. to paying for economic losses, such as lost wages while you try to find a new job. The specific remedies pursued on a disability discrimination claim depend on the negative effects you suffered and what is best for you. Determining the right course of action is something we will discuss together when you hire Texas disability discrimination lawyers to represent your disability discrimination claim.
Contact Texas disability discrimination lawyers right away
Disability discrimination claims follow the same process as other employment discrimination claims, which is a complex process. Disability discrimination claims begin with a charge filed with the federal (EEOC) and state (TWC) discrimination agencies who will investigate your claims of discrimination. The charge must be filed within a limited period of time after the discrimination occurred to preserve your claims. Do not wait to schedule a consultation with a disability discrimination lawyer in Texas. The sooner you speak with an attorney the sooner your attorney can advise you and begin work on case.