Every day of the year, the United Parcel Service flies and drives packages of all sizes in and out of Milwaukee. The company's bustling brown trucks have long been familiar sights on city streets all over the nation. The world's largest package delivery company is being forced to make changes to its worker leave policy by a single former employee, however. UPS recently settled for $2 million a disability discrimination lawsuit that originated with her.
Its formal name is the National Passenger Railroad Corporation. But it is better known to the public as Amtrak. The national rail system has the Hiawatha line running from Milwaukee to Chicago at least a dozen times a day, its website says.The site makes no mention of a recent settlement of a disability discrimination lawsuit, however. According to the agreement, Amtrak is to pay $112,000 in lost wages and compensatory damages to a man it once offered a job.
Wisconsin employers must abide by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This federal law states that reasonable accommodations must be made for employees or applicants who suffer from a disability. An employer may be exempt from this requirement if it would create an undue hardship for the company. Reasonable accommodations are defined as modifications to the workplace that enable an employee to do the job to the best of his or her abilities.
Both Wisconsin employees as well as those persons seeking a job in the state may be interested in the requirements placed on employers in order to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law uses the term 'reasonable accommodation" when describing what an employer must do in order to facilitate someone with needs either applying for or performing a job.
Federal law prohibits employment discrimination based on a disability of an employee or job applicant. Disability discrimination is governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to the protections offered by the act, employers may not treat a person less favorably because of a belief that he or she has a disability or a history of disability. Discrimination is prohibited with regard to pay rates, job assignments, hiring and firing decisions, promotions, layoffs, fringe benefits and other employment related matters.
On Aug. 20, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against a Wisconsin company for how it handled its company wellness program. The lawsuit alleges that a woman who was employed by Orion Energy Systems, Inc., was retaliated against and then fired for not participating in the program. According to the EEOC, the company's policy regarding the wellness program was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Americans with Disabilities Act is meant to afford individuals in Wisconsin who are disabled with protection from discrimination in the workplace. Interestingly, the protections offered by the act are not only extended to those who suffer from disabilities. Those who have relationships with a person, such as a worker with a disabled spouse, might also be covered by the act.
Many Americans are troubled with access issues in the workplace. Although there are laws in order to protect the rights of disabled workers, they undoubtedly face difficulties every day due to unreasonable accommodation. The Americans with Disabilities Act seeks to break down barriers for disabled workers in Wisconsin. Recently, one man recounts his journey through the court system to ensure that the ADA and laws surrounding reasonable accommodation are upheld.
It is no secret that Federal agencies are required by law to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with certain disabilities. Most people may not know the laws enacted to protect employees in the event that another position opens up within their place of employment that could better accommodate them. An employee in Wisconsin is entitled to reassignment as a reasonable accommodation if there is an open position for which the employee is qualified and if granting the job transfer would not disrupt the employer's seniority system.
In surveys conducted recently by researchers, half of U.S. employers are unsure of how to interpret ADA accommodations and implement provision without avoiding organizational hardship. Wisconsin employers and employees now have the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act for reference with regard to the definition and broadened terms of disability. This amendment to the ADA allowed an increase in the pool of protected individuals. However, further clarity may still need to be provided to ensure protection of disabled individuals in the workplace.