Age Disability Discrimination
You are getting older. It happens to everybody. Over thirty million Americans are over 65. In New York City, there are more than 1.5 million people over 55. These numbers will increase as baby boomers age. You like to work. It is part of who you are. And you need to work, to provide for yourself and your family. Age discrimination is a serious problem in New York City. In addition, many older workers have some form of disability, such as arthritis, diabetes, cancer and heart conditions. Your New York City employer cannot discriminate against you because of your age-related disability.
Your New York City employer ought to know that you may have valuable qualities as an older worker. You may be more willing to work different schedules. You may be more loyal, reliable, take work more seriously, and have more knowledge and skills. And you are willing to share your experience.
Older people with disabilities may experience discrimination in the workplace in New York, both in hiring and firing. Your New York City employer may not understand, or want to understand, you are capable of doing your job. Your employer may believe that you are likely to be absent from work or that you won't be able to focus on your job and will perceive you to be disabled, even though you can get your job done. Even if you have to be absent from work, and you need to take sick leave, for a portion of the day or for longer periods, that does not mean that you will not continue to be a productive employee.
You are entitled to a reasonable accommodation for age related disabilities. Depending on your disability, this could include making the workplace accessible, an ergonomic work station, flexibility in work breaks and schedules, reducing physical exertion, permitting video conferencing and other assistive computer software, providing lifting devices, or allowing time off for medical appointments. The accommodations need to be tailored to your particular disability, and your employer should engage in a good faith dialogue to work out strategies that will enable you to be a productive employee. You are entitled to an accommodation, as long as it does not impose an undue hardship on your employer. If your employer does not give you a reasonable accommodation for your age-related disability, that would be discrimination because of your disability.
Nor can your New York employer subject you to a hostile environment because of your age-related disability. That would also be a form of disability discrimination. For example, you may be subject to hurtful comments because you have difficulty getting around, or need the help of assistive devices. You should not be subjected to a hostile environment just because you are getting older. Older people should not be treated with disrespect, and unfair stereotypes based on their age.
Your employer cannot disclose your medical information or records to just anyone. You are entitled to confidentiality in your medical records and information.
If you are afraid to ask for an accommodation, know that your employer cannot retaliate against you for requesting an accommodation.
Contact us online or call us at (212) 949-1001 so that we can review if your New York City employer has subjected you to discrimination because of a disability related to your age in violation of law in New York State or New York City.