How Well Do You Know Your Rights As A Disabled Employee?

Karen DesotoPeople with impairments that significantly limit major life activity are often covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Here are a few things that Human Rights activist Karen DeSoto feels you must know.

What is Covered?

The impairment doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical one only. It can be a mental one as well. However, weight, height, pregnancy and homosexuality are not covered. Pregnancy is covered under a separate type of discrimination act. Furthermore, the impairment needn’t necessarily be a permanent one.

Are all Employers Covered?

An employer is only bound by this Act if the company has 15 employees or more. However, your state or county may individually have anti-discrimination laws that are relevant to companies with smaller employee strength.

What do you mean by Major Life Activities?

Activities such as caring for yourself, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, learning, sitting, standing, lifting, concentrating, thinking, working, breathing, performing manual tasks and interacting with others all come under the umbrella of major life activities.

To be covered under this Act, your disability must significantly limit your ability to perform one or more of the above-mentioned activities as compared to how average people perform them. If your case goes to court, they will weight the severity and nature of your disability along with the long-term impact it has on your ability to work.

Also, it is important to know that even if you aren’t currently disabled you may still be protected under this Act if you have a recorded disability. This is relevant in case of a history of a substantially limiting impairment or in case you have been misclassified as having one.

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Applicable Laws When Your Employer Breaks the Anti-Discrimination Law Against Veterans

LawAfter having spent years fighting for your nation, coming back to the real world and trying to lead a normal life can be quite a challenge. In the process of finding a stable job, there are cases where employers show a bias against veterans for several reasons. However, Karen DeSoto, human rights activist and legal analyst explains that veterans are protected under anti-discrimination laws at the workplace, allowing them to take necessary legal measures to protect their rights.

Here are a few things you should know –

The Uniformed Service Employment and Re-employment Rights Act

If you are able to prove that your claims are right, the employer may be compelled to reinstate your job, back pay, reimburse your lost benefits, restore your vacation leave, reimburse your attorney fees, correct your personal files, compensate for lost promotional opportunities if any, pursue pension adjustment and maybe even liquidate damages towards a willful violation.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

If you are able to prove that your employer is violating the FMLA, the law will compel your employer to remedy your lost wages, any actual monetary losses you incurred, attorney’s fees, lost benefits, and possibly liquidate damages for will-full violation. Typically, an employee has 2 years from the exact date of violation to sue their employers.

If your employer is violating any of the above laws, you can file a claim with the Department of Labor. Another option you have is to file a suit through your own attorney.

Things to Do When You Are No Longer Protected By DACA

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Ever since Trump got elected as president, DACA recipients have been concerned about their future. While many of the rumours of him stripping them off their protection and work permits on his first day in office were unfounded, the winding down of the program was eventually announced in early September 2017.

If you are concerned about your future once the protection is actually lifted off in March 2018, here are a few things you want to do as per human rights activist and legal expert Karen DeSoto

1. The first and less recommended option is to continue to live the lives you have been leading – Working, driving and getting around undocumented. This option puts you in legal jeopardy all day, every day and increases the chances of your deportation once you are caught.

2. A more practical approach will be to start planning to leave the country in a systematic manner. Sell your house, car and other assets while you are still protected under DACA and try to identify a country that would welcome your skillsets.

For people who grew up in the US, spending most of their lives here, the second step is a challenging one to take. However, in the long run it is the more practical one than going back to taking the kind of jobs you did before you were protected by DACA or transitioning back to illegality. With the right help from immigration experts you will be able to make sure that you create a new life for yourself in a sensible and organized manner.