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Disability Discrimination Attorney Top Answers: What constitutes a disability under the ADA? Is cerebral palsy a disability under the ADA? Can I sue an employer that does not hire me because of my cerebral palsy? Can I sue an employer that refuses to accommodate my cerebral palsy? How do I find the best disability discrimination attorney in Ohio?

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) protects qualified individuals with disabilities from employment discrimination. Under the ADA a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities is considered a disability. Examples of covered physical and mental impairments include: hearing, visual, speech and orthopedic impairments; cerebral palsy; epilepsy; muscular dystrophy; multiple sclerosis; cancer; heart disease; diabetes; mental retardation; emotional illness; drug addiction; alcoholism; and HIV infection. Major life activities include walking, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, learning, caring for oneself, sitting, lifting, reading, standing and working. Our disability discrimination attorneys have previously blogged about many of these disabilities.

An employer must make reasonable accommodations to the known physical limitations of employees with disabilities or the perceived disabilities of employees. Additionally, employers cannot discriminate in hiring against applicants with disabilities. So, it is not unexpected that in a recent case out of Iowa an employer was sued for not hiring someone because they had cerebral palsy.

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Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley, Iowa owned and operated Bright Beginnings Daycare Center. A school bus driver volunteered at Bright Beginnings during her time off work. She liked her volunteer work so much that she applied for a job to work at the daycare center. It should have been a perfect fit for the woman and the daycare center. She was qualified and loved the work so much that she freely volunteered her time. But, there was a problem: the volunteer bus driver had cerebral palsy.

The Hospital illegally refused to hire the woman, despite being qualified, because of her cerebral palsy. The employer wrongly believed her disability would prevent her from safely caring for children at the daycare. So, she filed suit against the Hospital. The judge found that the Hospital violated the ADA when it refused to hire the volunteer because of her cerebral palsy and the Hospital settled the case. It now must pay the woman $75,000, institute a policy that prohibits disability discrimination, and make sure that all Hospital employees receive training in ADA compliance.

The Hospital should have been aware it was violating the ADA. In just the last few years there have been high profile cases involving employers violating the ADA by discriminating against employees with cerebral palsy. In 2012, Wal-Mart settled a lawsuit for $50,000 after it violated the ADA by refusing to accommodate an employee’s cerebral palsy. And, in 2011 Target settled a lawsuit for $160,000 after similar discriminatory conduct. Surely, the Hospital knew it could not refuse to hire someone because of their disability? If any employer should be sensitive to the ADA it should be a hospital. But, no employer is perfect.

Often, we believe our healthcare institutions are infallible when it comes to discriminatory conduct. After all, we are at hospitals during the most stressful and heart wrenching moments in our lives. The care provided by nurses, doctors, and other healthcare employees originates from a place of professional purpose and caring intent. But, even the most altruistic employers can run afoul of the ADA and other anti-discrimination laws. Just because your employer’s purpose is noble does not mean it can violate your rights under Ohio or federal law. If you believe your employer has discriminated against you in violation of the ADA or any other anti-discrimination employment law, contact an employment discrimination attorney.

Having to live with a disability is difficult enough without worrying about the effect it may have on your job. If you are disabled or your employer perceives you as being disabled; and you have been fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, denied wages, or even think that you might need a disability discrimination lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. The best option is not to wait. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting disables employees’ rights under ADA and Ohio law.


The materials available at the top of this page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “how do I get a work accommodation for my disability?”, “am I disabled under the ADA?”, “what should I do if…” or “can my boss fired me for …”, it would be best for you to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to disability discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, attorney, Brian Spitz or any individual attorney.

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