Disabled people are a protected class
Disabled people are a protected class under federal and state laws. Both employers and public entities, as well as other businesses and legal entities, are subject to laws requiring special protection for those suffering from a disability.
In Montana, the law broadly defines those who are protected as disabled. It can, depending upon the circumstances, include the following situations:
- You have any physiological disease, disorder, condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss that limits your ability to participate in major life activities such as working, talking, walking, hearing, seeing or learning. Examples include HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, epilepsy, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
- You suffer from an addiction or mental health impairment.
- If your employer perceives you to have a physical impairment that is disabling, potentially disabling, or perceived as disabling or potentially disabling.
- You have a history of a medical condition or impairment such as cancer that is in remission.
- You have a permanent or even temporary physical or mental impairment, including a condition that may last six months or less such as a broken leg, clinically diagnosed depression, stress or anxiety, pregnancy, ADHD/ADD, etc.
Once an employee communicates he or she has a disability and may need an accommodation, certain state laws require an interactive process between the employer and the employee. On the employer side, this interactive process requires the employer to communicate with the employee in selecting an appropriate accommodation. The law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. Accommodations can include:
- Modified work schedules
- Adjustment of policies or additional training
- Interpreters or other required assistance
- Accessible workspace
- Medical leave or extension of medical leave
- Permitting an employee to work from home
- Reassigning to an available position
- Modified equipment or devices
At Meridian Law, we are well-known to the Montana Human Rights Bureau and other state agencies. We have handled numerous claims in front of the MHRB and the EEOC. For more information on what might constitute disability discrimination, as well as what legal rights you have, please read our blog articles and contact us directly. We can help you further understand how important it is to fight the horrible illegalities of discrimination, as well as determine what your legal rights are.