If you have a disability limiting your ability to access public accommodation, state and federal laws protect you. You also have legal protection against employment discrimination.
Accessibility discrimination in Bridgeport and throughout the country is illegal. Unfortunately, some employers and public accommodation providers fail to uphold your legal rights and protections. When an entity discriminates against you because of your disability, a civil rights attorney could help you seek justice for the unfair treatment. Ruane Attorneys is prepared to pursue legal action against the discriminatory party and fight for your rights.
People With Disabilities Are Protected from Discrimination
The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Connecticut Human Rights and Opportunities Act protect people with disabilities. The ADA only protects people with disabilities that impact a life activity, while the Connecticut law applies to anyone with a chronic impairment. Various impairments could legally qualify as disabilities and entitle someone to protection in specific circumstances.
Disabilities come in many forms. Examples of disabilities covered under the ADA and state law include the following:
- Mobility impairment
- Intellectual disability
- Speech impediment
- Some pregnancy-related conditions
The Connecticut statutes also prohibit employment discrimination against people with disabilities and anyone an employer perceives as disabled, even if they are not.
The Definition of Accessibility
A building or service must be accessible to people with ADA-recognized disabilities. Accessibility refers to physical accessibility for mobility-impaired persons. It also means the service or activity must be usable or understandable to people with other disabilities. Providing braille keyboards or voice-to-text devices for blind people is an example of making a workplace or public accommodation accessible.
The ADA and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practice Act ban employers from discriminating against employees or prospective employees. The law requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations for a person’s disability. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances, but it must be economically feasible for the employer and effective for the employee. Our Bridgeport attorneys can further explain what constitutes accessibility discrimination in the workplace during a consultation.
Administrative Remedies for Accessibility Discrimination in Bridgeport
A Connecticut employee or applicant who feels an employer has discriminated against them must file a claim with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO). Larger employers could also be subject to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) jurisdiction. A local attorney at our firm could help a disabled person file a complaint through the appropriate agency.
The deadline for filing a CHRO complaint is 180 days after the discriminatory act or omission. The EEOC could review the complaint if the employer has more than 15 employees. An employee may file with the EEOC within 300 days of the alleged discriminatory act.
If CHRO dismisses the complaint, the complainant can take their case to court. The complainant also could file a lawsuit if mandatory mediation does not result in a settlement.
Bringing a Lawsuit Against a Discriminatory Employer
Once the CHRO has either concluded its proceedings or issued a Release of Jurisdiction notice, the complainant has 90 days to bring a discrimination lawsuit in state or federal court. A Bridgeport accessibility discrimination lawyer could ensure the individual files a claim in the correct venue within the time limits.
Failing to accommodate a disability, depriving a person of opportunities available to other workers due to their disability, retaliating against a disabled person for requesting an accommodation, and permitting harassment of a disabled person could be grounds for a lawsuit. Ruane Attorneys could guide a person through the litigation process and work to secure reasonable compensation.
Damages in Accessibility Discrimination Lawsuits
A discrimination lawsuit allows a disabled person to demand damages from the employer. Damages in these cases could include the following:
- Reinstatement and an order for a reasonable accommodation, if required
- Past wages and the value of benefits lost due to the discrimination
- Future wages and benefits lost due to the discrimination
- Non-economic damages such as humiliation and emotional distress
- Attorneys’ fees
Additionally, victims of disability discrimination can sometimes claim punitive damages.
Fight Back Against Disability Discrimination with a Bridgeport Attorney
If you have experienced accessibility discrimination in Bridgeport, consult a lawyer at our firm on your legal options. We could help you pursue administrative solutions and, if necessary, take your case to court.
There are time limits for legal action, so do not hesitate to contact us. Call Ruane Attorneys today to discuss your situation.