This publication, written by staff attorneys at Disability Rights Ohio (formerly Legal Rights Service, or LRS), summarizes employment rights protection and remedies for people with disabilities. Information contained in the booklet does not take the place of legal advice for any specific case of employment discrimination. For advice about your specific case, Disability Rights Ohio recommends you consult a lawyer.
Employment discrimination based on disability is against the law. You have the legal right to equal employment opportunities available to all people. However, employment laws are very complicated. For example, even the legal definitions of discrimination and disability are still being argued in courts. Also, you have only limited time to assert your legal rights. If you do not assert your rights within the time allowed, you may lose your rights under the laws.
Ohio law states that disability "means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including the functions of caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working; a record of a physical or mental impairment; or being regarded as having a physical or mental impairment."
Ohio law states that discrimination "includes, but is not limited to, segregating or separating, according different treatment, or taking actions fair in form but which have a disparate impact, on the basis of membership in a protected class."
Employment discrimination includes firing or demoting, refusing to hire or promote, refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation, or providing unequal pay or benefits to a person because of that person's disability.
If you believe an employer has discriminated against you because you have a disability, Disability Rights Ohio recommends you:
- Act quickly to protect your rights, and
- Obtain legal advice to help you decide whether to
- Resolve the dispute through informal methods, or
- File complaints with government agencies, or
- Sue the employer in court.