Employers are not allowed to discriminate against disabled workers. According to the United States Department of Labor, federal protection against disability discrimination is provided through the Americans with Disabilities Act. Minnesota residents also enjoy state-specific protection against this type of discrimination. The Minnesota Human Rights Act establishes disability as a protected class, making it illegal for employers to discriminate against the disabled when hiring or dealing with employees.
Under both the ADA and the MHRA, people are considered legally disabled if they have a physical, sensory or mental impairment. These impairments must materially interfere with one or more major life activity. A prior record of one of these impairments will also grant disabled status.
Both federal and state laws require employers to provide disabilities workers with reasonable workplace accommodations. These accommodations may include adjustments that would allow a disabled worker to perform the duties required for a job. For example, a restaurant may have to provide enough space in walkways, doorways and between tables to allow employees in wheelchairs to navigate these areas.
The ADA is primarily enforced by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The MHRA is enforced by Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights. Both agencies encourage discrimination victims to come forward with their complaints as soon as possible.
Disabled workers who believe they are being discriminated against due to disabilities have the right to report the offending employers. Whether a person may or should file reports with under both state and federal antidiscrimination laws will likely depend on the situation.