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Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore

Disability Discrimination –
Disparate Treatment

Home Wrongful Termination Discrimination and Wrongful Termination Disability Discrimination – Disparate Treatment

Under Connecticut and federal law, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee with a disability on any term, condition or treatment of employment. Treating an employee with a disability negatively due to that disability is called “disparate treatment.” The types of employment decisions that can form the basis of a disparate treatment case include differences in pay, benefits, paid or unpaid leave, promotion, termination or hiring.

Connecticut Disability Discrimination Lawyer for Disparate Treatment Cases

If you have a disability and believe that it influenced your employer’s decision to take action against you, an attorney can help you recover what you’re owed. You may be entitled to lost pay and other damages.  The skilled Connecticut disability discrimination lawyers at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore can advise you and help you choose the right course, including filing a lawsuit in court if necessary.

The attorneys at Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore represent workers throughout Connecticut, including Bridgeport, New Haven, Milford, Stamford, Manchester, Waterbury, Fairfield, and Norwalk.

Key Issues in Disparate Treatment Cases

In order to bring a case alleging disability discrimination, certain conditions must be met. A court will ask the following questions:

  • Do you have a disability, or are you the caregiver for a person with a disability? A “disability” is defined under Connecticut law as a severe and chronic physical or mental condition.
  • Were you the subject of a negative employment decision, like termination, demotion, refusal to hire, failure to promote, denial of paid or unpaid leave, denial of any benefit or denial of work assignments, or have you been subjected to harassment?
  • Was the decision or harassment due to or related to your disability or relationship to a person with a disability?

If you answered “Yes” to the above questions, you may have a case for on-the-job disability discrimination.

Information on Disparate Treatment Disability Cases

Definition of Disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C. § 12102), defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. A major life activity can include walking, eating, breathing, sleeping, seeing, hearing, learning, reading, concentrating, standing, lifting, bending, communicating, thinking or writing. It can also include any major bodily function.  This is a federal law, and if it is violated, an employee may bring his or her case in federal court.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of a physical disability, mental disability or learning disability. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-51 establishes these definitions:

  • Physically Disabled: Having a chronic physical handicap, infirmity impairment, whether congenital or resulting from injury, organic processes or illness

  • Mental Disability: Having or having a record of a mental disorder as defined by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

  • Learning Disability: Exhibiting a severe discrepancy between educational performance and intellectual ability, or having a disorder that affects processes involved in understanding or using language

“Disparate treatment” means being singled out in some way for negative treatment. It can include any negative employment action, or harassment, such as mocking a person for his or her disability. Disparate treatment based on disability is a form of illegal discrimination.

Failure to accommodate is also a form of disability discrimination under both state and federal law.

Addiction as a Disability

Substance dependence, including alcohol or drug addiction, is a mental disability. An employer may take negative employment action against a person who comes to the office impaired or is using illegal drugs.   Take the following example:

Jane is a recovering alcoholic, and carries a chip from Alcoholics Anonymous denoting her status as being one year sober. She works as an insurance adjuster in Stamford and is up for a promotion to a management position. One day, she leaves her chip on her desk, and her supervisor sees it. She is denied the promotion. Her boss tells her he was uncomfortable giving her the promotion until she has been free from alcohol longer. Jane may have a case for disability discrimination.

Caregivers for People with Disabilities

It is also against the law to discriminate against a person who cares for someone with a disability, including the parent of a child with a disability or the spouse of a person with disability.

For example, Julio is an account manager in Bristol. His son has cystic fibrosis, which sometimes requires him to adjust his schedule to take care of his son’s needs. According to seniority, Julio should be assigned a new client’s work, and he is looking forward to it. However, the assignment is given to someone else. Julio inquires why he did not receive the assignment. His supervisor informs him that the new assignment would require a good deal of work, and she was not sure Julio would be able to do it and take care of his son. Julio may have a case for disability discrimination.

Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore |  Disability Discrimination Attorney for Disparate Treatment in Hartford

If you have suffered a negative employment decision due to a disability, you may have a case under the Americans with Disabilities Act or Connecticut law.  You may be able to recover lost wages and other damages.  Contact the Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore today by filling out our online form.