Disability discrimination occurs when an individual with a disability is treated less favorably or unfairly because of that disability. This type of discrimination can involve a range of actions or policies that disadvantage individuals with disabilities, and it can occur in various areas of public life, including employment, housing, education, and access to public services and accommodations.
Minnesota Disability Discrimination Attorney
As a civil rights attorney, I have substantial experience working with laws that prohibit disability discrimination, including in employment and educational settings and by public services and accommodations. I am committed to helping all who seek fairness and justice, including discrimination victims, employers, and businesses who seek to comply with the law.
What laws prohibit disability discrimination?
Various state and federal laws bar disability discrimination in a number of areas, including:
Employment: Both the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals with disabilities in any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, benefits, or any other term or condition of employment. Employers are also required to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment (or in the way things are usually done) to help a person with a disability apply for a job, perform the duties of a job, or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment.
Housing: The MHRA and the federal Fair Housing Act prohibit discrimination in housing based on disability. This includes refusing to rent or sell housing to a person because they have a disability, setting different terms or conditions for such persons, or denying them housing or housing services.
Education: Both the MHRA and federal laws like the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) protect people with disabilities from discrimination in education. Schools are required to provide students with disabilities with appropriate educational services designed to meet their individual needs to the same extent as the needs of students without disabilities are met.
Public Services and Accommodations: The MHRA and the ADA prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability in public services and accommodations. This includes access to public transportation, hotels, restaurants, and other public facilities.
What does disability discrimination look like?
Disability discrimination can take many forms, including:
Direct Discrimination: Treating someone less favorably because of their disability.
Indirect Discrimination: Implementing a policy that applies to everyone but particularly disadvantages people with a disability.
Failure to Accommodate: An employer or service provider failing to make reasonable adjustments to ensure a person with a disability can use their services just as anyone without a disability.
Harassment: Subjecting a person to insults, bullying, or humiliation because of their disability.
The remedies available for victims of disability discrimination can include compensatory damages, changes in policy, back pay, job reinstatement, and punitive damages. If you have questions or concerns regarding disability discrimination, it's advisable to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the complexities of both state and federal laws.