When looking at a disability or handicap case (the words can be used interchangeably), the first question to ask is whether the person in question has a “handicap.” A handicap is defined as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. If the person is perceived to have a handicap, even if they don’t actually have one, they might also be protected. And, it could also include something that was only a temporary disability or handicap.
Some things that have been determined not to be disabilities are: economic disadvantages; sexual orientation; personality disorders not caused by a mental or psychological condition; illegal drug use; and normal deviations in height, weight, or strength.
If someone has a handicap, then, in most cases, an employer has a legal obligation to provide them with a “reasonable accommodation” so that they can perform the “essential functions” of their job. This means that the employer can be obligated to provide assistance or accommodation so long as the person can still do their job. This could include reassignment or modifying job tasks.
It is important to note that Chapter 151B only applies if the employer has 6 or more employees, and the Americans with Disabilities Act only applies if the employer has 15 or more employees.
Culik Law represents people who feel they have been discriminated against on the basis of handicap or disability. Call or email our office to set up a no-cost case evaluation.