In spite of the major positive steps that have been taken legally and in a great many workplaces throughout the state of Illinois and the U.S., disability discrimination continues to rear its ugly head. At S.T. Legal Group, we work hard to protect individuals from unfair treatment and make sure that concerned employers are compliant with the law by making “reasonable accommodations” for their workers.
Our lead attorney, Diana (Taylor) Servos, has a well-earned reputation for compassion for her clients as well as sharp legal skills. If you are dealing with disability discrimination in the vicinity of Deerfield or Chicago, S.T. Legal Group is the place to call for efficient, effective results.
The Term “Disabilities” Covers a Wide Range of Conditions
The term “disabilities” has become increasingly inclusive over the years. According to the Social Security Administration, the rights of individuals with any of the following are included under its broad umbrella:
- Vision impairment
- Deafness or hearing impairment
- Mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder or PTSD
- Congenital cognitive limitation
- Brain injury
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Orthopedic, neurological, or neuromuscular disorder
- Certain digestive disorders, such as Crohn’s disease
- Severe and persistent pain
At S.T. Legal Group, we understand that if you suffer any serious disability, you have enough to cope with; you certainly should not have to endure disability discrimination at your workplace.
Understanding Disability Discrimination and Harassment
It seems that almost anything that sets you apart as a minority can be used as a reason (albeit an illegal one) for employment discrimination. Those who are deaf, unable to walk, on the autism spectrum, etc. may be harassed by derogatory comments, posted cartoons, social media attacks or inappropriate jokes. Such actions can and should lead to winnable lawsuits.
It is important to understand that disability discrimination can be successfully claimed whether you actually disabled or perceived to be so. Whether you are the individual being taunted or the employer on whose premises this misconduct is taking place, these situations are intolerable. Our practice works tirelessly to fight all acts of disability discrimination, including:
- Denying training, preferred job assignments or opportunity for advancement
- Paying less than to others who do equivalent work
- Failing to promote or raise wages when deserved
- Refusing to accommodate easily met needs
- Mistreating, demeaning or disciplining unjustly
- Segregating from other employees
- Wrongfully terminating
If you have suffered the pain of a disability — physical, emotional, financial or all three, Diana (Taylor) Servos will fight aggressively to recover damages for you and to make certain you receive fair treatment going forward. On the other hand, if you are an employer who is trying to establish a protocol to avoid disability discrimination or has been unfairly accused of misconduct, she is here to assist you and prepared to defend you.
Whatever the situation, she has the legal knowledge to bolster your case by gathering evidence and witness testimony and engaging in agile negotiations with opposing attorneys, both in and out of the courtroom.
Federal and State Laws That Protect the Disabled
Laws are in place to protect your right to fair treatment in the workplace despite your disability. These include: The Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) and the American Disability Act (ADA).The ADA defines an individual with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that restricts one or more major life activities, for example walking, talking, socializing, seeing, hearing or learning at a typical pace. While the ADA applies to businesses with 15 or more employees, the IHRA was amended in 2020 to apply to all companies with at least one employee..
What are reasonable accommodations?
The law states that reasonable accommodations are those that can be implemented by the employer without inordinate inconvenience or expense. For example, buying a more supportive chair or relocating a workstation is considered reasonable; installing an elevator is not. Diana (Taylor) Servos regularly advises employers about ways to be accommodating to their disabled employees, including:
- Identifying themselves to the visually impaired and informing them of steps or obstacles
- Maintaining as regimented a routine as possible for workers on the autism spectrum
- Facing a hearing-impaired person, speaking clearly, and seating them towards the middle of a conference table
- Recognizing that pain or fatigue may sometimes interfere with the productivity of those with neuromuscular disorders
- Protect employees with mental illness from undue pressure and stress
Reasonable accommodations may also include arranging for a desk that is accessible to an employee in a wheelchair or allowing a service dog to be on the premises.
S.T. Legal Is Well Aware of the Benefits Provided by Disabled Employees
In 2008, DePaul University did a study to explore how having employees with disabilities in the workforce affected businesses in terms of financial and performance. The following findings confirmed the advantages by demonstrating that disabled employees:
- Stayed on the job longer
- Had fewer scheduled absences
- Had nearly identical job performance ratings to their non-disabled peers
- Were well worth the minimal costs of accommodating their disabilities
- Were dedicated and reliable employees
- Provided benefits not only in terms of productivity but in terms of reputational enhancement
These findings are encouraging to disabled individuals seeking employment and reassuring to employers who are considering hiring them. As Diana (Taylor) Servos frequently points out to both groups of clients, such data decisively contradicts the myths that hiring workers with disabilities results in high rates of absenteeism or slower rates of productivity.
Damages Diana (Taylor) Servos Will Fight to Win if You Sue for Disability Discrimination
While every case has unique features, with Diana at the helm, you stand a good chance of winning some or all of the following in a negotiated settlement or in a positive verdict:
- Reinstatement with appropriate accommodations
- Back and/or front pay
- Lost benefits (e.g. lost vacation, sick leave, pension)
- Compensation for emotional distress
If your employer’s misconduct has been especially egregious or your have experienced retaliation as a result of your complaint, the court may also award you punitive damages.
Contact Our Experienced Disability Discrimination Attorney Now
Whether you are a disabled employee suffering as a result of discrimination for a condition you have no control over or an employer looking to set up your business to be an inclusive one or for defense against false accusations, get in touch with S.T. Legal Group as soon as possible. Will will provide you with the strong legal advocacy and personal concern you need and deserve.
S.T. Legal Group disability discrimination attorneys represent employers and employees in Deerfield, Lake, and Cook Counties and throughout the state of Illinois.