Five Signs of Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

Five Signs of Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

Cognitive impairments are the most common disability in America, followed closely by mobility impairments. Altogether, about a quarter of American workers have some kind of disability. Roughly speaking, a disability is any mental, physical, or other impairment that substantially impedes everyday function.

Generally, disabled workers are every bit as productive as other workers with similar qualifications. Disabled individuals just need some extra help, as we all need from time to time. In a perfect world, companies would voluntarily give disabled individuals extra help. But we do not live in a perfect world, which is why a Chicago disability discrimination lawyer must sometimes get involved in these matters.


The most common form of workplace disability discrimination actually has nothing to do with a disability or discrimination. Instead, bosses penalize workers for speaking out or taking their concerns to Human Resources. Illegal retaliation could affect non-disabled workers as well if they serve as a witness in an investigation or encourage someone else to come forward.

Because of its chilling effect, stopping retaliation is a top priority for Chicago disability discrimination lawyers. Usually, a time relationship (coming forward in January and a demotion in February) establishes a case. 

Different Treatment

Usually, disabled individuals don’t want special attention. They just want to be treated like everyone else. In fact, if employers don’t treat everyone the same, they are illegally discriminating against people in a protected class.

Limitations are very common. For example, disabled workers might not go to conventions because the employer doesn’t want to pay for additional accommodations.

Lack of Accommodations

Speaking of accommodations, disabled workers are entitled to reasonable accommodations if they meet minimum job requirements.

There is no discussion in this area. If Larry has a bad back and his doctor prescribes a certain kind of office chair, Larry’s boss must provide that type of chair, not a cheaper version that is almost as good. Employers also have a duty to give interviewees reasonable accommodations, once again assuming they have the minimum qualifications.


Verbal, physical, and sexual harassment can happen in the workplace and, unfortunately, can be perpetrated by anyone at any level of command. If your boss, supervisor, coworker, or even a non-employee, makes offensive or harassing remarks to you about your disability, then that could be considered discrimination.

It is important to note that inconveniences are not considered discrimination. Verbal abuse, physical assault, and slurs are examples of harassment that would be considered discrimination against you as a disabled person when perpetrated in the workplace.

Failure to Hire

During the interview process, the employer must accommodate you to ensure you have an equal opportunity for application. For example, if the employer requires you to take an exam on the computer and you have a disability that prevents you from reading screens clearly, the employer must accommodate you with a screen reader. Failure to provide this accommodation could prevent your hiring.

Work With a Diligent Cook County Attorney

Job bias victims have legal options in Illinois. For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago disability discrimination attorney, contact the Law Office of Mitchell A. Kline. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start fighting for you.