California and federal laws provide disabled people with certain protections at work. Many workers know that an employer must make reasonable accommodations for an employee who develops a partial disability but is still able to perform their job duties. For instance, the employer may have to change the employee’s desk and work area to make them accessible by wheelchair.
But some of the worst employment discrimination disabled people face comes before they ever collect a paycheck. Often, employers simply refuse to hire job candidates with disabilities.
Recently, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced that it had filed suit against Walmart, alleging that the retail giant violated federal anti-discrimination laws when one of its stores failed or refused to provide an American Sign Language interpreter for a deaf job candidate at a job interview.
According to the E.E.O.C., after Walmart invited the man to a job interview, he told the company he was deaf and requested an interpreter. Walmart then apparently cancelled the interview and declined to hire the man.
The E.E.O.C. claims Walmart’s actions in this case amounted to a violation of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act. The federal agency filed suit after failing to resolve the matter through negotiation.
Personal legal action
In some cases, federal agencies such as the E.E.O.C. can take the lead in legal action against an employer who violates the A.D.A. or other anti-discrimination laws. In others, the worker may be better off pursuing legal action on their own with the help of an experienced lawyer. In either case, workers can benefit greatly from speaking to an employment law attorney as early in the process as they can. A good lawyer can advise them on their rights and help them assess their legal options.