Disability Discrimination at Work Place
Who is covered?
Any employee who is has a condition that substantially limits a major life activity (including working in a class of jobs or broad range of jobs in various classes as compared to most people having comparable training, skills, and abilities).
A major life activity is defined (under Federal law) (not restrictive) as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, eating, hearing, sleeping, walking, standing, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working; and also includes an operation of major bodily function such as (not limited) functions of immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions. See American with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), 2009.
Any employee who works for an employer with at least 15 employees (for Federal Protection) and at least 4 employees for New York State and City protections.
By the way, ADA also applies to nonfederal government agencies of any size and places of public accommodation.
In addition, a person has to be qualified to sue: a person with a condition is qualified if he/she satisfies the required skill, experience, and education requirements of the position and can , with or without reasonable accommodation, perform the essential functions of the job.
What does the law say?
The American with Disabilities Act protects employees from harassment, disparate treatment, retaliation etc. based on actual or perceived disability. Under the ADA, a prima facie case of disability discrimination requires that the plaintiff show that: (1) the defendants are subject to the ADA; (2) the plaintiff has a disability within the meaning of the ADA; (3) the plaintiff was otherwise qualified to perform the essential functions of her job with or without reasonable accommodation; and (4) the plaintiff suffered an adverse employment action as a result of her disability. Capobianco v. City of New York, 422 F.3d 47, 56 (2d Cir. 2005). To establish a disability within the meaning of the ADA, the plaintiff must establish either that (1) she suffers from a physical or mental impairment that "substantially limits" one or more "major life activities"; (2) "has a record of such impairment"; or (3) "is regarded as" having such an impairment. 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2); LaBella v. New York City Admin. For Children's Services, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18271, 2005 WL 2077192, at *10 (E.D.N.Y March 28, 2005).
"Irrespective of whether a plaintiff's claim is based on actual, recorded or perceived disability, the disability must be an impairment covered by the ADA, that is, the disability is one that substantially limits a major life activity." LaBella, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18271, 2005 WL 2077192 at *10, citing Colwell v. Suffolk County Police Dep't, 158 F.3d 635, 645-46 (2d Cir. 1998).
Under Federal Law, an employee can file a claim in a Federal Court only after the EEOC issues a right to sue letter permitting such an employee to file his case within 90 days of the receipt of such a letter. The Statute of Limitations issue may also arise and it depends on a particular claim being filed.