Perceived Disability Discrimination

You did not ask to have a medical condition but it doesn't affect your ability to do your job. Yet, you tell us that your employer is treating you unfairly because the employer, in its opinion, thinks you are disabled, or has an unreasonable prejudice against your medical condition or that you might be unable to do your job in the future because your medical condition might change for the worse. So the employer, treats you unfairly, denying you equal wages, promotions, job growth opportunities and job benefits - or even fires you. That is unfair, and it's illegal. Discrimination based on perceived disability is illegal under Federal, New York State and New York City discrimination laws.

Discrimination based on perceived disability occurs where you are subject to discrimination because your employer regards you as disabled, whereas in fact you do not have a disability. You have not requested an accommodation, because you do not have a disability which requires an accommodation. For example, if you have skin graft scars as a result of an operation, and an employer refuses to hire you because of those scars, the employer may be regarding you as disabled, even though your skin condition is not really a disability. Federal Law may not recognize a perceived disability claim where the condition is transitory (duration of less than six months) and minor.

New York City Law, which has a much broader definition of disability, is much more protective of employee rights in situations where the employer discriminates against you because it perceives or regards you as disabled, whereas in fact you are not disabled. For example, you may have had a back condition in the past which would have limited you in lifting more than a certain amount of weight, but you are no longer limited in this way. Your employer cannot discriminate against you or fire you because of speculation that you are going to have a problem in the future as a result of lifting, in a case where you have no present disability and are not asking for an accommodation. In a case under the New York City Human Rights Law, an employee had multiple sclerosis, and had to use a cane, but did not tell her employer about her medical condition because she was afraid of possible negative attitudes. Even though she used a cane to walk, she did not request any accommodations to do her consulting job. The employer nevertheless fired her because it perceived her to be disabled, and was found to be in violation of the law.

Sometimes you tell us that you are subjected to a hostile environment based on your perceived disability. People are making hurtful comment about your medical condition, or they use code words. A hostile environment based on perceived disability discrimination is illegal under Federal Law, New York State Law, and New York City Law. In our more than 25 years of experience, we have been helped many employees subjected to perceived disability discrimination and to a hostile environment based on a perceived disability, and we will be your lawyer for negotiations or a court suit in New York State Courts or New York City so that injustice is stopped.

Contact us online or call us at (212) 949-1001 for a free initial consultation today to review whether your New York City employer has subjected you to discrimination because they think you are disabled.

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