Back Condition Disability Discrimination

You injured your back. It can happen to anybody. In fact, it may be that back injuries account for more than one-half of musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace.  The back pain can be local, or it may radiate to other parts of your body. For example, sciatica may go from your lower back and down your legs. Back pain may result from a trauma to the back from lifting, or you may have a herniated disc that may have just degenerated over the years. You may be in almost constant discomfort. It's not your fault. Back conditions, resulting from herniated disks and other causes, may be considered disabilities in the workplace under discrimination law in New York State and New York City, and your employer cannot discriminate against you because of your back condition.

You have a back pain. It may be temporary, due to sprain, or more enduring, due to degeneration of the spine. People with back conditions may experience discrimination in the workplace in New York, both in hiring and firing. You may undergo back condition discrimination at work because your employer doesn't understand you are still able to work during and after treatment for your back condition.  Even if you are recovering from a back injury, or have recovered, sometimes your employer believes that you are likely to be absent from work or that you won't 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, there may a good chance that you will recover, and continue to be a productive employee. Don't give up, even if your back condition is having side effects which for the time being affect your ability to work.

You are entitled to a reasonable accommodation for your back condition, and your New York employer cannot subject you to disability discrimination because you have injured your spine or have a herniated disk. For example, you may request work breaks from time to time so that you can regain your composure, the option of working from home, use of aids to help you walk, variation in commute times, equipment to help you lift things, use of ergonomic work stations or carts to move materials. Your employer must engage in good faith dialogue with you to work out strategies which do not impose an undue hardship on your employer. You should make reasonable suggestions, and your employer should respond in kind. If your employer does not give you a reasonable accommodation, that would be disability discrimination because of your back condition.

Nor can your New York employer subject you to a hostile environment because of your back condition. That would also be a form of disability discrimination. For example, you have difficulty getting around the workplace, and your employer makes negative comments about this, or says it will make a bad impression on customers or other workers, even though you are perfectly capable of doing your job with a reasonable accommodation. That would be a form of disability discrimination based on your back condition.

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 disability discrimination because of your back condition in violation of law in New York State or New York City.

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