Disability Discrimination Mediator: Very Important! If You Have a Disability, Here Are Your Employment Protections in Massachusetts
Persons with disability have legal protections under the Massachusetts employment discrimination laws (provider under Chapter 151B of the state’s General Laws) as well as the federal law called the ADA. The state law covers employers who have at least six employees, while the ADA covers employers who have at least 15 employees.
Both laws provide that a qualified employer may not discriminate against a worker with a disability. If you believe that you are a victim of workplace discrimination because of a disability, you should consult with an employment mediation attorney or a disability discrimination mediator for legal advice.
Employers in Massachusetts are required to make reasonable employment-related modifications at the workplace in order to provide equal opportunity to a person with a disability. These types of reasonable accommodation should enable them to:
- Apply for and compete to obtain a job
- Carry out the core job role and function
- Obtain the same financial benefits and privileges as other workers
The disability should either be obvious to the employer or the job applicant or employer should notify the employer of their disability. Only then the employer is responsible for providing reasonable accommodation in these cases. If you have a dispute with your employer or prospective employer on this issue, you may work with a disability discrimination mediator to find a resolution.
Some of the typical accommodations in these cases may include modified work schedules, physical changes to the office facilities, adjustment in training materials, and provision of skilled interpreters or readers. Sometimes the employer may be able to show that a requested accommodation would cause them an “undue hardship.”
This could be an administrative, operational, or financial hardship. In these cases, they may not be legally required to agree to the employee’s request for accommodation. However, the employer would still have a right to know why the employer considers a requested accommodation and undue hardship. An employment mediation attorney help settle disputes related to disability discrimination in the workplace.
Questions that May or May Not be Permitted
Employers in Massachusetts cannot ask whether an employee or a job candidate has a disability, or what is the nature or extent of a disability. However, the employer has a right to inquire if a candidate can perform the role and function related to a particular job.
Before a job offer has been made, the employer cannot ask an applicant to undergo a medical exam. After the job offer is made, the employer can ask for a medical exam to be cleared, subject to (a) all workers in that particular job category have to undergo the same exam; or (b) the medical exam is required to arrange for a reasonable accommodation.
Massachusetts law prohibits employers from using any selection tests or other employment criteria that are designed to identify or screen out persons with disabilities. These tests and criteria should only measure the candidate’s ability to carry out a core job function.
Talk to a Disability Discrimination Mediator in Massachusetts
If you believe that your employer has violated your employment rights or discriminated against you because of your disability, you may consider the option of mediation instead of a lawsuit. Shapiro Mediation Services has the deep domain expertise to help resolve employment disputes through mediation. Talk to our mediators by requesting a free consultation. Call 617.765.1040 or contact us online.