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Disability services providers discriminating against disabled

Earlier this week we came across a story about a woman who filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against her state's Department of Aging and Disability. When another headline popped up proclaiming that an employee was suing a disability services provider for disability discrimination, we assumed it was the same story. As it turns out, two totally unrelated lawsuits were filed this week claiming that a disability services provider discriminated against disabled job applicants.

The irony of these cases is obvious, but also speaks to a larger problem of insensitivity and discrimination by employers all over the country. Disability discrimination is illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and has been for many years, yet even branches of the government and nonprofits dedicated to serving people with disabilities are found to be violating that law.

In one of these cases a woman was wrongfully terminated from a job with the state government as a result of her insistence on keeping the day shift she had been hired for in order to accommodate her hearing impairment. In the second case, a woman was denied a position that she was qualified for after she disclosed her partial paralysis in one hand during a physical exam required for a job at a nonprofit that serves people with developmental disabilities.

In both cases the women say that their disability would not have interfered with their job duties. If they did, the employer is still required to make a reasonable accommodation for them according to the guidelines in the ADA.

Cases like this are truly shocking and show how far we still have to go to stop discrimination against people with disabilities.

Source: The Southeast Texas Record, "Texas Dept. of Aging and Disability sued for discriminating against deaf employee," Michelle Keahey, July 17, 2012

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Disability-care provider accused of bias," Bob Egleko, July 12, 2012.

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