Discrimination & the Americans with Disabilities Act

Posted By Katz, Leidman, Freund & Herman || 7-Nov-2018

If you were injured in a workplace accident or if you are suffering from an occupational disease, you may be worried about filing a workers’ compensation claim. You may be afraid that if you file a claim, you would anger your employer and lose your job. We wanted to dedicate a post to this because it happens a lot, especially in physical jobs, such as construction or jobs that involve heavy lifting or manufacturing.

For starters, it’s against the law for your employer to fire you or otherwise discriminate against you for claiming or attempting to file a workers’ compensation claim. Also, if you testify or are about to testify in a workers’ compensation proceeding, you are protected by the law. If your New York employer violates the law, they could be fined up to $500.

Have You Been Discriminated Against?

Did you file a workers’ compensation claim only for your employer to lash back and wrongfully fire you in retaliation? If so, you have two years to file a complaint for discrimination. To file a complaint before this window closes, you will need to file a Form DC-120 with the Albany District Office of the New York Workers’ Compensation Board, but we do NOT recommend doing this alone. You should have an attorney from our firm file this form on your behalf and provide you with skilled legal counsel.

If the Board determines that you were unfairly fired, it will order your employer to restore your previous position at the company. Your employer will also have to compensate you for any losses that arose out of the discrimination.

Americans with Disabilities Act & You

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 strictly prohibits private and government employers from discriminating against disabled workers when hiring, firing and offering promotions. The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees and it includes local and state governments.

So, if you are injured on the job and you can perform the essential functions of the job that you had before the injury, your employer is expected to make a reasonable accommodation, even if this means restructuring your job, modifying equipment or work schedules, or reassigning you to a vacant position.

Your employer is NOT supposed to fire you because its unwilling to accommodate you. The Act helps injured workers who are trying to return back to work after receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Related: Can I Get Fired for Filing a Workers’ Comp Claim?