Washington employers are legally prohibited from discriminating against employees and potential employees based on their physical or mental disabilities. In Washington State, employers cannot make adverse decisions based on your physical or mental disability, even if your disability is temporary or alleviated by medication. When employers violate Washington’s anti-discrimination law, employees can hold them accountable for disability discrimination.
Consult a Washington Employment Lawyer About Your Disability Discrimination Case
Are you wondering whether your employer’s actions constitute unlawful disability discrimination? If so, the best thing you can do is discuss your case with a discrimination lawyer in Washington State. Attorney Krist Favard of Sapphire Legal, PLLC, will review your case and advise you of your legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation, and she can help you navigate the claims process. Contact her today to schedule your initial consultation.
What Constitutes Disability Discrimination in Washington?
Two primary laws that protect disabled employees in Washington State: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). Both of these laws prohibit employers from discriminating against employees and potential employees based on their disability. Discrimination based on an employee’s disability is prohibited during all of the following:
- The application process
- The hiring process
- The promotion process
- When determining an employee’s salary
- When determining an employee’s benefits
- Discharge and termination
- Any other employment-related activity
Discrimination based on your disability may not be obvious at first. Your employer may deny that they are discriminating against you if you bring it up. You aren’t alone. Attorney Kristi Favard jas successfully represented many clients in disability discrimination cases. She will help you gather the evidence you need and file your claim. She knows how to hold employees accountable for their discriminatory actions.
Examples of Disability Discrimination in Washington
Disability discrimination can occur in a wide variety of circumstances. It can be difficult to prove disability discrimination because employers may deny that they made an adverse employment decision based on an employee’s disability. When most people think about disability discrimination, they think about an employer refusing to hire an employee because of his or her disability. However, there are many more types of disability discrimination that are unlawful under state and federal law, including the following:
- Not interviewing a potential employer because of a disability
- Not promoting an employee because of a disability
- Failure to provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a disability
- Terminating the employment of a person because of his or her disability
- Retaliating against a disabled employee for requesting accommodations
- Assigning an employee the least favorite tasks because of his or her disability
- Not allowing a disabled employee to engage in career advancement training
Disability Discrimination Under Washington State Law
The federal Americans with Disabilities Act protects many disabled employees and potential employees in Washington state. However, if you’ve been discriminated against based on your disability, you could benefit from bringing a claim under the Washington Law Against Discrimination. The WLAD protects employees with a greater range of disabilities.
Even if your physical or mental condition isn’t considered a “disability” by the ADA, it could still be covered by the WLAD. The WLAD defines a qualifying disability as the presence of a sensory, mental, or physical impairment:
- Is medically diagnosable or cognizable: or,
- Exists as a record or history (you have a history of disability or have been previously diagnosed); or
- Is perceived to exist whether or not it, in fact, exists
The WLAD defines “impairment” broadly, including any of the following:
- Psychological disorder or conditions
- Cosmetic disfigurement
- Anatomical loss affecting a bodily system
- Any mental, developmental, traumatic, or psychological disorder
- Specific learning disabilities
Washington Law Protects Employees With Temporary Disabilities
Unlike the ADA, Washington’s anti-discrimination law protects employees with temporary disabilities. Even if your disability is temporary and expected to go away, or you can alleviate or mitigate your disability with medication, you are still protected against discrimination in Washington. Under federal law, you must prove that your medical condition or impairment significantly impacts your major life activities or limits you from performing your job.
In Washington, you do not have to show that you’re seriously limited by your medical disability or impairment to bring a discrimination claim. Washington’s anti-discrimination law even protects certain physical traits, such as being left-handed, the use of illegal drugs, and personality traits like being irritable. Finally, recovering alcoholics and drug addicts are protected as disabled employees in Washington.
Employers Must Provide Employees With Reasonable Accommodations
Companies cannot discriminate against disabled employees when making adverse employment decisions based on disability. Additionally, employers must provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations in the workplace to comply with the ADA. The ADA only applies to companies with fifteen or more employees, but Washington state laws cover smaller employers. Reasonable accommodations help disabled employees complete their tasks.
Deciding whether an accommodation is reasonable depends on the circumstances of the case, including what the accommodation will cost. Employers are not legally required to lower their production or performance standards to accommodate a disabled employee. However, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with qualifying disabilities, such as:
- Installing handrails
- Installing wheelchair ramps or other physical accommodations
- Provide written instructions
- Allowing an employee to work from home
- Allowing an employee to have flexible start times
- Allowing an employee to use assistive technology or equipment
- Transferring the employee to a different
- Modifying work-related devices or equipment
- Providing an employee with an individualized work schedule
- Adjusting work policies
Contact a Disability Discrimination Lawyer in Snohomish County
Have you or your loved one been discriminated against in the workplace because of your physical or mental disability? If so, you may be entitled to compensation through a disability discrimination claim against your employer. Attorney Kristi Favard of Sapphire Legal, PLLC, can advocate for you throughout the entire process. She won’t investigate your case and represent you in filing your disability discrimination claim. Contact her today to schedule your initial consultation.