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Disability Discrimination at Work in Pennsylvania – Were You Fired or Demoted Due to Disability?

The Basics of Pennsylvania Employment Law, Disability Discrimination

Workers with disabilities across Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia and Allentown, often face significant acts of discrimination at work, such as:

  • firing or termination,
  • demotion or reduced hours/pay,
  • lack of promotion or advancement, and
  • harassment.

In addition, disabled people seeking a job may be turned down due to their disabilities. All of these actions are illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Pennsylvania (state) law.

Recent Employment Law Case Result: $900,000 Sexual Harassment Settlement by Koller Law Firm, the largest sexual harassment against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. See more employment law case results.

Call our Philadelphia employment law firm for a FREE, NO OBLIGATION consultation. We represent employees in disability discrimination cases throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. (215) 545-8917

Reasonable Accommodations for Disabled Employees & Job Seekers

Employers are required to provide employees and job seekers with reasonable accommodations to the job duties, work schedule or hiring process to provide the employee or job seeker with a reasonable opportunity to perform the job or be hired.

Below are two examples of illegal disability discrimination.

A long time employee in Philadelphia is recently diagnosed with epilepsy and is fired after requesting a reasonable scheduling change to accommodate her medical appointments.

A job seeker in Allentown, who is deaf, requests that he be allowed to bring a sign language interpreter to his scheduled job interview. The request is denied and he is denied the position. The employer cites his deafness as the reason.

The second example is based on a July 29, 2021 EEOC case in Atlanta where a job seeker with cerebral palsy and deafness was denied a position with a laundry service because of his disabilities. The employer was ordered to pay nearly $40,000.

A wide variety of physical, mental and emotional disabilities are protected under the ADA, including diabetes, cancer, intellectual disabilities, etc. As of July 2021, long-term Covid sufferers are also protected under the ADA.

Time Limits for Disability Discrimination Claims – How Long Do You Have to Sue Your Employer?

180 Days (or 300 Days)

In most Pennsylvania disability discrimination cases, the employee or job seeker only has 180 days under federal law or 300 days under state law to file a claim. The clock usually starts ticking on the date of the discriminatory act, i.e., the date of firing or date the job was denied.

Compensation for Disability Discrimination at Work in Pennsylvania

Employers who discriminate against disabled employees and job seekers may be liable and subsequently ordered to pay damages, including back pay, future pay, emotional distress. In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded.

Punitive damages are only awarded in cases where the employer engaged in especially egregious conduct, such as a pattern of conduct that shows a blatant disregard for the health and safety of others.  While punitive damages awards tend to be uncommon, juries do award them.

In a July 2021 disability discrimination case, a Wisconsin jury awarded $150,000 in damages and $125 million in punitive damages to a former employee of Walmart with Down Syndrome. See EEOC v. Walmart Stores East LP, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Case No. 17-cv-70.

In the disability discrimination lawsuit, the EEOC alleged that the employee, who worked for Walmart for over 15 years, was fired after making a scheduling request. Evidence at trial revealed that the employee’s long-time work schedule was changed, and she was fired after she requested that her previous schedule be reinstated. In addition, the employee had previously received consistent, positive performance evaluations and was denied a subsequent position after seeking to be rehired.

About Koller Law Firm – Phila. Employment Law Firm

Firm founder David Koller is no ordinary employment lawyer. As the founder of Koller Law Firm, David prides himself on being a true advocate for his clients. He makes business decisions for the firm based on what’s in his clients’ best interests and routinely pushes the envelope when it comes to making novel legal arguments.

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