Uniquely Louisiana

Uniquely Louisiana

Understanding disability discrimination laws

| May 24, 2018

Discrimination based on a person’s disability is simply unacceptable, no matter the details of an incident. Not only does this type of harassment threaten one’s safety in the work environment; it can also inflict damage on a person’s sense of security, mental health and well-being. Fortunately, there are specific laws that protect Louisiana workers from these harmful situations.

First, many might wonder what exactly constitutes this type of worker harassment. Workplace Fairness defines disability discrimination as the different treatment of individuals because of their disability, perceived disability or even association with another disabled person. This can involve any of the following actions in the workplace:

  • Firing
  • Hiring
  • Promoting
  • Training
  • Providing benefits 

The list continues, covering aspects such as job assignments, pay, leave and all other activities related to the job. Some Louisiana workers might assume that the harassment must be physical, but Workplace Fairness clarifies that many instances of discrimination are verbal or indirect. Even when a boss or coworker has created a tense environment simply because of a person’s disability, they have crossed an ethical line. 

The United States Department of Labor provides an informative resource on the nation’s employment laws — more specifically, those regarding disability and discrimination. Five laws protect employees from harassment: the Rehabiliation Act, the Workforce Investment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act and the Civil Service Reform Act. Most employers must have some level of familiarity with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as this law prohibits discrimination against anyone with a disability. The main goal of these laws may be unanimous, but there may be additional responsibilities on state and local government levels.