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Understand your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act

West Des Moines employers who discriminate against their disabled employees are in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). What is particularly distressing is that unless a discriminated-upon employee registers a complaint, companies get away with it.

Unless they are held accountable, companies often hide behind "at will" employment statutes that allow businesses to terminate workers' employment for any reason — or no reason at all. But, because of the ADA, there are certain discriminatory practices that are prohibited.

Which employment practices are covered?

Under the ADA, it is illegal to discriminate when:

  • recruiting
  • training
  • hiring
  • firing
  • compensating
  • assigning job duties
  • promoting
  • approving leave
  • assigning benefits
  • reducing work force, i.e. "lay-offs"

It should be noted that the ADA also prohibits discriminating against applicants and employees — regardless of whether they are disabled or not — based on the applicant's or worker's social, familial, business, or other associations or relationships with disabled individuals.

Whistleblowers protected

If you realize that your company has fallen far short of acceptable standards related to the hiring and firing of its employees, it is vital to remember that applicants and employees are also protected under the ADA from employers retaliating against them if they assert their protected rights under the ADA — or speak up for those who do.

Discrimination cases are complex

Does this mean that it will be easy to prevail in your discrimination case against your employer? Far from it, as these cases are often more than a bit challenging to prove to a jury. Still, the potential difficulty of a courtroom win should not be the litmus test for workers who feel that their disability resulted in denial or termination of employment.

Ditto for many of the perks of employment — promotions, lucrative benefits and other resources. Disabled workers should have the right to all of the perquisites that abled workers can access readily.

But presenting a viable case to the Iowa courts require that plaintiffs assemble their evidence and line up favorable witness testimonies. Co-workers can be reluctant to potentially place themselves into management's firing lines. Your best bet in a disability discrimination case is to learn all that you can about your options in the pursuit of justice.

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