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Understanding Disability Discrimination and Legitimate Job Requirements

June 5th, 2023
Contact Our Philadelphia Disability Discrimination Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C.

When it comes to the workplace, striking the right balance between accommodating individuals with disabilities and ensuring that job requirements are met can be challenging.

Discrimination occurs when an individual with a disability is treated unfairly or differently. This could include making assumptions about their abilities, denying them opportunities, or creating barriers to their participation in the workplace.

Legitimate job requirements refer to the specific qualifications, skills, and abilities necessary for an employee to perform the essential functions of their job. These requirements are not discriminatory, as they are based on the actual demands of the position rather than any biases or stereotypes about individuals with disabilities.

Consider the following examples:

  • An employer refuses to hire a candidate with hearing impairment for a position that requires excellent communication skills. This could be considered disability discrimination if the employer assumes that the candidate’s hearing impairment automatically disqualifies them from performing the job without exploring possible accommodations.
  • A job posting for a warehouse worker requires the ability to lift 50 pounds. This would be a legitimate job requirement, as the ability to lift heavy objects is essential for the role. However, if the employer refused to consider an applicant with a physical disability who could perform the lifting with the help of assistive equipment, this would be discriminatory.

Common Disabilities and Their Impact on Job Performance

Disabilities can be visible and invisible, encompassing many physical and mental impairments. Some common disabilities that may affect an employee’s ability to perform their job include:

  • Mobility impairments, such as difficulty walking or using stairs.
  • Hearing impairments, which can impact communication and understanding of auditory information.
  • Visual impairments affecting the ability to read, view screens, or navigate spaces.
  • Cognitive disabilities, like learning disabilities or ADHD, can affect memory, concentration, and problem-solving.

Identifying Job Requirements and Accommodating Individuals With Disabilities

To ensure that individuals with disabilities are given equal opportunities in the workplace, it is crucial to identify the essential functions of a job and determine whether any accommodations can be made to help employees with disabilities perform these tasks. This process involves:

  • Clearly outlining the job requirements, including the necessary skills, abilities, and qualifications.
  • Evaluating whether any of these requirements can be modified or adjusted to accommodate employees with disabilities without causing undue hardship to the employer.
  • Providing reasonable accommodations, such as assistive technology, flexible work schedules, or modifications to the work environment.

Contact Our Philadelphia Disability Discrimination Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C.

Disability discrimination at work is against the law. If you have been discriminated against at work because of your disability, speak with our Philadelphia disability discrimination lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. today. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, and Montgomery County.

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