One broad protection afforded by the Americans with Disabilities Act is that a worker can be unlawfully discriminated against even if he or she is not actually disabled. Specifically, the law, as amended, protects persons with a history of disability or those persons “regarded as” disabled. “Regarded as” disability discriminations arise when a worker does not actually have a physical or mental disability but is discriminated against because the employer views the worker as disabled.
A recent case provides a good example of this. In Nunies v. HIE Holdings, Inc., the Court allowed a delivery driver to proceed with his claim of disability discrimination because he had produced sufficient evidence that the employer had regarded him as disabled. The employer had argued that the driver had no disability and offered no evidence that the employer viewed him as disabled due to claimed shoulder pain. But the Court disagreed, finding that the employer rescinded a transfer to a new position and forced the employee to quit just two days after the employee complained of a shoulder injury and provided the employer with a doctor’s note asking for two weeks off.
The Court held that the employee could proceed with his claim because he had sufficient evidence to show that the employer terminated him “because of” his knowledge of the shoulder pain, regardless of whether the employer actually perceived the shoulder pain as a disability and regardless of whether or not the shoulder pain amounted to an actual disability.
Therefore, you may have a solid disability discrimination case if your employer acted as if you were disabled and subsequently treated you as such.
If you are seeking advice, assistance and representation in a disability discrimination case against your current or former employer, the attorneys at Lebau & Neuworth are experienced in handling all types of employment discrimination claims so we may be able to help you. Contact Lebau & Neuworth at 888-456-2529 or lebauneuworth.com/contact-us.