The media often covers concerns over discrimination based on gender, race and sexual orientation. However, disability rights can fall by the wayside.
The law has protections to ensure that an intellectual or developmental disability is not a reason to deny a person employment. Additionally, when an employer does not provide sufficient modifications to allow a person with a disability to do essential job functions, such negligence could be discriminatory.
Legal protections for job applicants with disabilities
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination dictates that employers cannot deny individuals with disabilities jobs based on a previous or current condition if they can handle the essential duties of an assignment. When a person has the requisite qualifications for the position, the hiring manager must consider all things equal to other applicants.
Some disabilities would preclude a person from doing a specific job. Rejecting an applicant on such a basis is not discrimination. For example, a transportation company hiring a driver does not have to consider people whose disabilities prevent them from obtaining a driver’s license. However, an employer cannot reject a candidate for an inability to perform nonessential duties.
Reasonable accommodations for employees
An employer must provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. Such accommodations could include custom equipment or modifications to schedules and duties. For example, accessible bathrooms or adjustments to a desk, phone or computer are common accommodations. The item must not put an undue financial burden on the employer to acquire it.
An employee need only make a plain language request for the item and does not have to proceed through a complex process. If an employer fails to act in good faith after understanding the request, an employee may have grounds to pursue action against the employer for discrimination.