Texans are protected from disability discrimination by both the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Texas state labor law. Under these employment laws, discrimination against the disabled is prohibited, giving these individuals the equal opportunities and benefits as all others enjoy. Under the ADA, reasonable accommodations must be made to disabled employees and applicants by companies employing 15 or more workers.
If you are an employer or an employee or applicant with a disability issue, we strongly urge you to consult with one of our Houston disability rights lawyers at Peckham Martin PLLC. Our firm is dedicated to protecting employee rights and efficiently resolving legal issues for employers throughout the greater Houston area.
Our team includes a Board-Certified labor and employment law attorney with top ratings from Avvo and Martindale Hubbell’s® peer reviews. We are proud of our outstanding record of legal wins in this arena and the reputation for excellence that we have earned as a result. No matter how complex or challenging your issue may be, we welcome the opportunity to advise you on your position and legal options.
The ADA and Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against someone who is living with a disability in all phases of employment.
These areas include:
Under these laws, if you are a disabled applicant or employee, you must be allowed to perform the basic duties of your job. If you need an accommodation to do so, you must request it from your employer. It must be what is termed “reasonable,” meaning that it must not cause substantial expense or difficulty based on the financial resources of the employer, its size, and business needs.
An accommodation would consist of any type of alternation to the work environment that would make it possible to do the job for which you are hired. It is not mandatory for employers to lower their product quality or standards to accommodate anyone who is disabled. Also, an employer may pick and choose which accommodation it wishes to provide in light of the circumstances as long as all legal requirements are met.
Examples of accommodations that might be requested and made available could include:
During the application process, employers are not allowed to inquire if you have a disability but can only inquire about your ability to do the job. If you are asked to undergo a medical exam, it must be because that is the rule for all applicants, and it must be related to the job.
Furthermore, you cannot be discriminated against because you are related to someone who is disabled, for example, a spouse or child.
The employment portion of the ADA falls under the regulation and enforcement of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
A disabled employee can experience unwelcome behavior in the workplace due to their disability.
This typically takes the form of either direct harassment that creates a hostile work environment, or indirect harassment resulting in the demotion or termination of an employee
Some examples of disability harassment in the workplace include:
These forms of harassment would also apply to an employee with a perceived disability.
It can be perpetrated by a:
Your employer may be liable for the harassment if they knowingly permitted the harassment in the workplace.
As an employee or applicant, if you believe you have been subjected to any type of disability discrimination or harassment, you should get trusted legal advice about where you stand, the merits of your case, and your legal options.
If you are an employer, you may need to ensure that you are ADA compliant or may need to respond to a claim of discrimination. Our Houston disability rights lawyers are here for all matters related to state and federal disability laws no matter what side of an issue you find yourself. Let us use our exceptional experience, knowledge, and responsiveness to help you.
– Tom K.
Whether you are an individual or a lawyer in need of legal representation, we are here to help you with your case throughout the Southwest and beyond.