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  • Steven Mitchell Sack

Five Potential Signs of Disability Discrimination

Updated: May 26, 2022

Disability discrimination is sadly a common occurrence in workplaces across the country. While the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is meant to protect disabled workers from discrimination, they nevertheless face hurdles that can make it harder for them to support themselves. Here are five potential signs of disability discrimination you should look out for in your workplace:

  1. Failing to provide reasonable accommodations Under the ADA, employers are supposed to provide their employees with reasonable accommodations to help them perform their job duties. This may include providing additional equipment to compensate for their disability, or modifying their job duties to ensure they can keep up with their tasks. While employers are not expected to break the bank to help disabled employees, they must at least demonstrate they did what they could.

  2. Failing to give promotions or raises to people with disabilities As Steven Sack says in his book Fired!, “Every aspect of the employment relationship is protected [by the ADA], from employee compensation, terms, and privileges to job classifications, fringe benefits, promotions, training opportunities, and discharge.” This means that even if you are hired and treated reasonably well, you could still be a victim of disability discrimination if you are not granted the chance to advance in your company. You could also be a victim of discrimination if you are not given a raise or benefits commensurate with your experience and performance in your duties.

  3. Using derogatory language when talking to, or about, disabled people A more obvious potential sign of disability discrimination is that an employer talks about disabled people in a disrespectful way, using derogatory language or slurs. This could involve talking directly to disabled people disrespectfully, or simply discussing disabled employees insultingly behind their backs. In particular, the use of slurs and other insulting language can be a major sign of discrimination.

  4. Disproportionately punishing people with disabilities for minor offenses Logically, when two different employees commit the same offense, they should be punished in roughly the same way. However, when disability discrimination comes into play, a disabled employee may be punished far more harshly than their able-bodied co-worker for the same offense. For example, a disabled employee may get written up for a dress code violation, while their non-disabled coworker may get away with a simple warning.

  5. Being retaliated against for reporting ADA violations Finally, be wary of any signs of someone being punished for reporting ADA violations. This includes both disabled victims of disability discrimination, as well as any non-disabled people who report their employer for violating the law. If you have been the victim of disability discrimination, or were retaliated against for reporting an ADA violation, you should consult an employment law attorney who can help you to pursue legal action.

Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 41 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available for order in hardback, softback, and digital formats, and carries valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To buy the book, please contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or To inquire about a legal matter, feel free to contact Steve Sack at 917-371-8000 or

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