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Navigating Disability Discrimination Laws: A Comprehensive Guide

Founding Member of Moshes Law, P.C.
During his years of practice, Yuriy has concentrated in litigation and real estate transactions as his areas of expertise.

Disability discrimination, particularly in the workplace, is a significant issue faced by many individuals today. Thankfully, there are strong federal and state disability discrimination laws established to protect individuals and promote fairness and equality. This article will explore these laws, employee rights, employer responsibilities, penalties for violations, and possible courses of action.

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Federal Disability Discrimination Laws: Protecting Employees

The most influential federal law protecting disabled employees is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As one of the most important disability discrimination laws, the ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in numerous life aspects, including employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and access to state and local government programs and services.

Disability and Employment Law: The Role of the ADA

In the realm of disability and employment law, the ADA mandates employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities, unless it causes undue hardship.

New York State Laws: Expanding Protections for Disabled Employees

In New York State, robust disability discrimination laws mirror and expand upon federal laws. The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on disability. Additionally, under New York State ADA requirements, employers are mandated to provide reasonable accommodations enabling a person with a disability to perform their job’s essential functions.

Protected Classes under Disability Discrimination Laws

Under the disability discrimination laws, protected classes include individuals with mental and physical disabilities. These laws prohibit various forms of discrimination, such as biases in hiring, firing, promotion decisions, job assignments, and any other term or condition of employment. As part of the laws protecting disabled employees, employers are required to provide reasonable workplace accommodations for employees with disabilities.

Legal Consequences of Disability Discrimination

The consequences of violating disability discrimination laws can be substantial for employers. Under both federal disability discrimination laws and the New York State Human Rights Law, employers found guilty of discrimination may face compensatory and punitive damages. Liability can extend to individuals, such as managers or supervisors, who engage in, allow, or fail to address discriminatory practices.

Taking Legal Action: Standing Up Against Discrimination

Victims of disability discrimination can take legal action under the disability and employment law by filing a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or with the New York State Division of Human Rights. If either agency finds reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred, they may file a lawsuit on behalf of the complainant.

If you believe you’ve been a victim of disability discrimination in the workplace, the experienced attorneys at Moshes Law can help. Our team of employment lawyers specializes in disability and employment law and serves all areas of New York City, Westchester, Long Island and Northern New Jersey. To learn more about how we can assist you, visit our disability discrimination lawyer page.


Disability discrimination in the workplace is a serious issue. However, both state and federal disability discrimination laws offer robust protections for victims. By understanding these laws and the legal recourse available, employees can confidently stand against disability discrimination and seek justice.

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