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The two types of discrimination that disabled employees face

Landing a new job brings all sorts of jubilation, for a number of reasons. Finding a job can be notoriously tough, and even when one finally gets a job, issues can still arise in the workplace. Disability discrimination is an unfortunate problem that is far too prevalent and takes many forms.

While yes, there are plenty of helpful employers who want to bring qualified disabled job candidates onto their team, they can still, in the end, single them out in one way or another. And of all the ways that a disabled employee can face discrimination, they typically fall under two categories: indirect and direct discrimination.

Indirect discrimination

This is when company policy is rooted in a practice that singles out or pushes to the side disabled employees. When the policy was created it may have been an unconscious move, but the effects are the same nonetheless. Employers might try to use the “we didn’t know this could harm others” excuse. All the same, this does not justify the policy.

Direct discrimination

This is the kind of discrimination that grabs headlines and leads to shocked gasps. Direct discrimination is when employers exclude certain employees from certain tasks or give those employees improper treatment because of their disability. While it can start small, in an offhand remark, or a simple “Oh I’m sorry I forgot to include you,” the accumulation over time makes it very evident that the employer is keeping responsibility from that employee because of their disability.

Malicious intent could be harder to prove with indirect discrimination, but the results are the same for both. A disabled employee receives poor treatment because of a condition that they cannot control.

The difficulty in proving discrimination

One aspect of disability discrimination that’s difficult is that there is an opportunity to get pushback from an employer. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the law cannot step in on instances where a remark or “joke” is considered to be minor. This is why having documentation to back up claims can be helpful.

Disabled employees should not have to deal with workplace discrimination. While it can feel overwhelming and stressful to deal with, especially if one is worried that speaking up could worsen matters. But a workplace should never feel uncomfortable. Reaching out to a legal professional to get help could provide numerous benefits.