American history has not always been friendly to disabled workers. In 1973, Congress passed legislation prohibiting federal agencies from discriminating against disabled workers, but it was not until the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) that all disabled workers, whether in public or private employment, were protected against discrimination. Since that time, as attitudes toward the disabled have gradually changed, disabled workers in Toledo, Northwest Ohio, and throughout the region, have sometimes seen improvement in their treatment in the workplace. Nevertheless, for many disabled Americans, the dream of fair treatment has not fully come to pass.
The Americans with Disabilities Act makes it illegal for an employer to treat an employee less favorably than other employees in the terms and conditions of their employment on account of the employee's disability, history of disability, or perceived disability. Disabled employees in Toledo and throughout Ohio are also similarly protected under Ohio law.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits biased treatment in hiring, firing, compensation, benefits, job classification, training, and promotions. Where necessary, employers must provide a "reasonable accommodation" to a disabled employee or applicant, so long as that accommodation does not cause undue hardship for the employer. One question which sometimes arises in disability cases is whether the employee is disabled under the law. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a disabled individual is one who 1) is physically or mentally impaired to a degree that limits one or more major life activities; 2) has a record of such impairment; or 3) is perceived as having such an impairment. "Major life activities" includes caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. The term also covers the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. Minor or temporary conditions such as a broken limb or a bout of influenza are generally not disabilities under the law. Some conditions, such as cerebral palsy or depression, may be found to be disabling or not disabling under the Act, depending upon their severity. Even an employee who is not in fact disabled, is protected from discrimination resulting from an employer's false perception that the employee is disabled.
Of course, to be protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employees must be qualified for the position sought, in that the employee or applicant has the education, skills, experience, and other reasonable requirements for the position, and must be able to perform the essential job duties, either with or without reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation is any reasonable adjustment or modification that might be made to enable a disabled employee who is otherwise qualified, to be able to perform the requirements of the job. Such accommodations might include, for example, making workstations more accessible, modifying work schedules, modifying training or testing procedures, or modifying equipment. But accommodations which would impose undue hardships on the employer need not be made.
In my 31 years experience representing disabled workers in Toledo and throughout Northwest Ohio, I have dealt with these and many other issues.
Because the Americans with Disabilities Act has been around for fewer years than most of the statutes prohibiting other forms of discrimination, interpretation of the ADA is one of the most unsettled areas of employment law. Retaining an attorney experienced in the law of disability discrimination can be the difference between receiving the fair treatment to which you are entitled, and continuing to experience discrimination based upon your disability. I have been representing disabled workers in Toledo, Northwest Ohio, and throughout the region for more than 31 years. I know how to investigate and prepare your case to give you the greatest possibility of successfully overcoming workplace discrimination based upon your disability. It is my passionate belief that qualified Americans with disabilities deserve to be treated fairly so that they may contribute their skills and labor to the workplaces of Toledo and throughout Ohio and the country. So if you believe that you are being or have been discriminated against on the basis of a disability or history of disability, or of a perception that you are disabled, I encourage you to call my office. Of course, no attorney, including myself, can guarantee success in any given case. However, you can be certain that I will utilize my best skills and experience to maximize the likelihood of success in your case.
As with virtually any legal claims, disability discrimination claims are subject to statutes of limitation, which refer to the time period within which claims must be filed. There is no single statute of limitation which applies to every kind of claim. Some claims may be barred after as little as 180 days from the date of the discriminatory act or actions; other claims may be brought as long as six years after such actions. But even for those claims which may be brought years after their occurrence, it is rarely beneficial to unduly delay bringing your claims. To the contrary, important witnesses may die or move from the area; memories fade; documents get destroyed and e-mails get deleted in the ordinary course of business; and numerous other occurrences may make it more difficult to successfully bring your claim after the passage of an extended period of time. Therefore, it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel as quickly as practicable after the discriminatory acts occur. Even if you're not sure whether you want to pursue your claim, or even if you're uncertain as to whether you have a claim, I encourage you to call and set up an initial consultation. I welcome the opportunity to represent workers in the Toledo area, throughout Northwest Ohio, and even in other areas of the State and country.
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