Discrimination based on a person’s disability or perceived disability is illegal in Texas and violates both state and federal law. Disability discrimination may include the following:
Comments or jokes about a person’s disability;
Failing to hire an individual based on that individual’s disability or perceived disability;
Treating an employee less favorably because of that individual’s disability or perceived disability;
Creating a hostile work environment for any individual with a disability;
Denying an employee a pay raise or promotion based on that individual’s disability or perceived disability; or
Providing an employee with negative performance reviews based on that individual’s disability or perceived disability.
State and federal law prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee who complains about disability discrimination. Employers are also required to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability. A reasonable accommodation is a modification of an employee’s job duties or working environment which does not cause undue hardship to the employer.
A victim of disability discrimination must be able to show that he or she has a physical or mental condition that substantially limits a major life activity, or that he or she is perceived as being disabled by the employer. The harasser can be any other employee that you work with, including a co-worker or supervisor. If you believe that you have been discriminated against based on your disability or perceived disability, it is important to complain internally to human resources or other individual(s) designated by your employer to handle employee complaints. It is also important to document any and all events that you believe constitute disablity discrimination to best protect your rights.
There are certain time limitations for filing a complaint based on disability discrimination. Under state law, the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act, an individual must file a complaint no later than 180 days after the most recent occurrence of disability discrimination. Under federal law, the Americans with Disabilities Act, an individual must file a complaint no later than 300 days after the most recent occurrence of disability discrimination. Therefore, it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable employment attorney as soon as practicable.