What constitutes discrimination based on disability?

During an employment interview at an amusement park, a position was being discussed until I mentioned my epilepsy I told them that I was unable to drive and it would be helpful if I was scheduled so that I could use public transportation. The interviewer then changed direction and offered me quite possibly the worse position they have. I feel as if the interviewer was trying to get me to refuse employment with them.

Asked on August 18, 2011 Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Federal law prohibits discrimiantion against the disabled. Discrimination includes being given worse or lower paid jobs than others. However, it's important to bear in mind that an employer's only obligation is to make "reasonable"--i.e. not too costly or too disruptive--accomodations; an employer does not need to employee someone in a position if it's simply not practical. An issue  her would be:

1) The job you were offered--is that the only reasonable one you could do if you are subject to epileptic attacks? For example, it may not be safe to let you operate rides or work as a fry cook if you could suffer an attack. (By the way--I know very little about epilepsy, so my apologies if I am mistating the impact of the condition.) If you couldn't not safely do other jobs, this may be reasonable.

2) The impact of the scheduling you requested--if the mass transit schedule means you can't do other jobs than the one you were offered because you couldn't make the shift, then again, it may be reasonble to offer you the job they did.

On the other hand, if you feel that you could do other jobs with reasonable (not disruptive or too costly) accomodations, then you may have a claim, and may wish to consult with an employment attorney. Good luck.


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