Both federal law and Minnesota law prohibit discrimination based on a person’s disability.
As is the case with other types of unlawful discrimination, employers may not refuse to hire, fire, or take other adverse action against workers because the workers have a documented disability.
An employer may also not take action based on a person’s history of having a disability or even the perception that the person has a disability.
Again as with other types of discrimination, employers must take reasonable steps to prevent harassment of disabled workers either at the hands of managers or on account of a hostile work environment.
Under federal law, the definition of a “disability” is broad. A disability can include any long-term condition which limits a person’s life activities. Life activities can include activities as broad as thinking, learning, lifting, and communicating.
Minnesota has a similarly broad definition of disability which could include many different conditions.
At the same time, it is important to remember that not every diagnosable medical condition is a disability, and an employer may require an employee to document their condition.
Those with documented disabilities may be entitled to reasonable accommodation
Workers in the greater Minneapolis area who have documented disabilities are also entitled to reasonable accommodations at work. An employer may expect that a worker will be able to perform their duties as described. However, the employer may have to take reasonable steps to help an employee with a disability perform their job functions.
While an employer does not have to grant all requests for accommodations, the employer does have to review requests thoroughly and make sure it has reasons for its decision.
While reasonable accommodations can involve a range of steps, such as changing workplace rules, giving an employee some special equipment or the like, what is or is not reasonable will depend a lot on individual circumstances.
Like other victims of discrimination, workers who face disability discrimination may be eligible to receive compensation in a lawsuit.