Suffering from a medical condition or disability should not mean having to experience discrimination in the workplace. For this reason, state and federal laws serve to protect individuals in New Jersey from medical discrimination — and an employment attorney from NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC can help you leverage those laws.
If you or a loved one has been discriminated against due to a medical condition, our experienced team at NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC can relentlessly fight to protect your rights. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today to schedule your consultation.
What is medical discrimination?
Discrimination is against the law. There are several different types of discrimination, including medical discrimination. Medical discrimination refers to discrimination based on a medical condition or illness.
This type of discrimination can prevent you from either getting a job, advancing in your occupation, or participating in employment benefits, among other things.
Types of Medical Discrimination in the Workplace
The medical condition you suffer from can have some bearing on the type of discrimination you suffer. Some of the common kinds of medical discrimination in the workplace include:
A disability is any condition that impairs the body or mind, making it more challenging for the individual to engage in certain activities or interact with the world. There are several types of disabilities, including those affecting:
- Mental health
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled individuals from any type of discrimination, including discrimination in the workplace.
To receive protection from the ADA, you must qualify under the Act. Employees protected by the ADA include those who currently have or have previously had a disability and those whom employers consider disabled.
Mental Illness Discrimination
Mental illness is just as serious as physical illness. The Americans with Disabilities Act also protects individuals who have mental illness.
The mental impairments and psychological disorders covered under the ADA include, but are not limited to:
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Intellectual disabilities
Like physical conditions, mental illnesses require the proper medical documentation. Employers cannot assume an individual does or does not have a mental condition.
Chronic Illness Discrimination
A chronic illness is an illness that requires ongoing medical treatment and persists for longer than a year. The ADA offers protections for individuals with chronic illnesses as well.
While the Act does not provide a comprehensive list, some of the common chronic illnesses it protects include:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Because individuals with chronic illnesses require more extensive medical care, it can be challenging to carry on with work as usual. The Act aims to protect those with chronic illnesses, regardless of their condition or the amount of treatment they need.
Some individuals are more predisposed to specific medical conditions due to genetics or family history. Certain federal and state laws, including Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), prevent employers from discriminating against their employees due to their genetic information.
Protection for Medical Discrimination in New Jersey
Not only do federal laws protect individuals from medical discrimination, but state-level laws also work to promote the same goal.
In New Jersey, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) prevents employers from discriminating against anyone for a medical illness or disability, whether actual or perceived.
The NJLAD differs from federal laws for multiple reasons. For instance, the NJLAD applies to all employers in New Jersey, whereas federal laws like the ADA only apply to larger employers with 15 or more employees. Additionally, the NJLAD offers protection for a wider range of illnesses and disabilities than the ADA.
In what ways can a person experience medical discrimination in the workplace?
Medical discrimination can look different for everyone, depending on the situation. In most cases, experiencing employment medical discrimination involves:
- Obtaining employment
- Getting a raise
- Participating in employee benefits
- Getting fired
Medical discrimination can also include harassment and retaliation from supervisors, fellow employees, or customers and clients.
Additionally, the law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for medical conditions and disabilities, including:
- Medical leave of absence for treatment and recovery
- Modification of work hours
- Reassignment to different job positions
- Special equipment to fulfill work duties
Your employer could potentially take a negative employment action if it’s for the benefit of the company. However, in general, if your employer takes actions with no other motivation but to discriminate, these actions could violate federal and state law.
Contact a Compassionate Employment Attorney Today
Everyone with a medical illness or condition deserves the same respect as those without them. As an individual with a medical issue, you have rights. An employment attorney can help protect these rights and fight for a fair resolution in the event that your rights are violated.
The compassionate legal team at NJ Employment Lawyers, LLC is available to hear your concerns and determine how to proceed with your case. We are dedicated to representing our client’s best interests and doing everything in our power to achieve the best possible outcome.
Contact us today to get started.