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What Is a Disability?
A disability is any injury, illness, or medical condition that prevents an employee from performing their work tasks. They can sometimes include emotional and psychologically related issues as well. Some employers offer disability benefits, which help cover a person’s wages and expenses while they are out with their disability. State and federal social security laws also provide disability benefits for permanent disabilities.
The definition of a disability may vary according to the situation and context in which the term is being used. For social security purposes, disabilities must render the person permanently unable to perform their work.
Common Legal Issues In Disability Lawsuits
Disability lawsuits are among the most common types of employment lawsuits. These types of legal disputes can often involve legal issues such as:
- Eligibility for disability benefits;
- Disputes over amount of compensation being offered;
- Difficulties in identifying and classifying medical conditions;
- Conflicts over wages and hours;
- Employer failure to make reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act;
- Failure to provide reasonable access to people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act;
Disabilities can also be divided into further sub-categories, such as total vs. partial, fully debilitating vs. short term, etc. This can make some of the lawsuits even more complex, and may require an expert medical witness.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
To combat discrimination against people with disabilities, the federal government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities. Most notably, the ADA guarantees disabled persons equal opportunity in employment, public accommodations, transportation, and housing.
Employment under the ADA
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits both private and public employers from discriminating against a person with a disability in any aspect of employment. In addition, it requires employers make reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities.
Public Accommodations under the ADA
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that any entity that is open to the public must be accessible to people with disabilities. Public accommodations subject to ADA requirements are: (but not limited to)
- Office buildings
- Movie theaters
Making a public entity handicap accessible means the addition of wheelchair ramps, handrails, handicap parking, and any other arrangements, which account for disabled accessibility.
Transportation under the ADA
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) strives to provide the disabled with reliable and convenient transportation services that are sensitive to their needs. Consequently, the ADA has codified into law numerous rules and regulations through the Department of Transportation (DOT) that seek to enhance transportation services for the disabled. These rules mandate that all public transportation services:
- Be made handicap accessible through accommodations such as ramps, handicap seating spaces, and any other necessary arrangements
- Not impose special charges for disabled travelers
- Not require disabled travelers to have personal attendants travel with them
- Not harass or humiliate disabled travelers in any way that may discourage their future use of public transportation services
Housing under the ADA
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), discrimination in housing based upon a disability is prohibited. Through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), several federal laws have been passed to enforce the ADA's prohibitions.
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Fair Housing Act), prohibits discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of dwellings, and in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, and disability.
Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability in programs, services, and activities provided or made available by public entities. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) enforces Title II when it relates to state and local public housing, housing assistance and housing referrals.
The Architectural Barriers Act requires that buildings and facilities designed, constructed, altered, or leased with certain federal funds after September 1969 must be accessible to and useable by handicapped persons.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Disability Lawsuits?
Disability laws may require the help of a lawyer due to their complexity. You may wish to hire a skilled disability lawyer if you have a conflict and need to file a lawsuit. Your attorney can represent you in court if you need to make an appearance. Also, your attorney can help determine what types of legal remedies might be available for you.
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Last Modified: 10-01-2017 05:46 PM PDT
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