What do I do if I believe I am being mistreated at work due to a physical disability?

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What do I do if I believe I am being mistreated at work due to a physical disability?

I believe that I am being mistreated at work due to me having a knee disability. I was not scheduled for over a month, and when I asked the manager, I was told it was because I was sitting down a lot. I showed proof of a diagnosed disability from a doctor a few weeks before and she just walked away. Several months have passed, and the same thing is happening again. My manager ignores me when I try to bring it up, and fellow employees harass me about the subject. I am on the verge of quitting even though I really need the money. I have asked continuously for more hours.

Asked on June 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New Mexico

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Employers may not discriminate against an employee due to a disability--doing so is against the law. Bear in mind, however, that "not discriminating" means making "reasonable accomodations," or changes in how a job is done, or provision of assistive techology or devices, which allow the employee to do the job and which are not too expensive or disruptive for the employer. That means that even if takes some reasonable accomodations, the employee must be able to do the job; if he or she can't the employer does not have to schedule him or her and may even be able to terminate him or her.

If, on the other hand, you can essentially do your job but you feel that notwithstanding that, the employer is discriminating against you (or allowing fellow employees to harass you) because you have a disability, you may be suffering illegal discrimination and may have a legal cause of action. If you think this might be the case, you should either speak with an employment law attorney to discuss the matter in greater detail, or else contact either the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state equal or civil rights agency about filing a complaint.


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