Discriminating against an individual based on his or her physical or medical condition is illegal.
Not everyone with a medical condition is protected by the law. In order to be protected, a person must be qualified for the job and have a disability as defined by the law.
A person can show that he or she has a disability in one of three ways:
The law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation 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.
Reasonable accommodation might include, for example, making the workplace accessible for wheelchair users or providing a reader or interpreter for someone who is blind or hearing impaired.
While the federal anti-discrimination laws don't require an employer to accommodate an employee who must care for a disabled family member, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may require an employer to take such steps.
An employer doesn't have to provide an accommodation if doing so would cause undue hardship to the employer.
Undue hardship means that the accommodation would be too difficult or too expensive to provide, in light of the employer's size, financial resources, and the needs of the business. An employer may not refuse to provide an accommodation just because it involves some cost. An employer does not have to provide the exact accommodation the employee or job applicant wants. If more than one accommodation works, the employer may choose which one to provide.
Disability based on medical condition is not allowed if you have been diagnosed with with cancer and have been completely rehabilitated or cured based on a competent doctor's opinion.
Disability based on medical condition is also not allowed if you have an identifiable gene or chromosome, or an inherited characteristic, known to cause or increase the statistical risk of a particular disease or disorder that presently does not have symptoms. This would be like being HIV positive and not having AIDs but being discriminated against for a position.
To determine whether you are protected against discrimination from your employer, there are three other things to consider:
1. Whether you are considered an employee who is covered under the law.
2. Whether your employer is subject to the anti-discrimination laws.
3. Whether your employer's conduct is considered discriminatory under the law.
4. What reason your employer discriminates against you.
If you feel you may be unlawfully discriminated against, contact us so we may review your situation with you.