Our Lawyers Will Fight For You
With offices in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo and Youngstown, Ohio, as well as offices in Detroit, Michigan, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Louisville, Kentucky, the employment lawyers at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, are experienced at fighting neurodivergence discrimination.
To combat discrimination against disabled Americans, Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). The ADA prohibits workplace harassment and employment discrimination based on an individual’s neurodivergent condition, as well as employer retaliation against employes who report or complain about discrimination against those who are neurodivergent. This means that your boss, manager, or supervisor cannot make fun of you, demote you, or wrongfully fire you because you are neurodivergent or perceived to be neurodivergent.
Many employees do not fully understand if they are covered by the ADA, and if so, what their neurodivergence discrimination rights are. The ADA requires that employers make reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of employees with neurodivergent conditions or perceived neurodivergence. Under the ADA, a reasonable accommodation may include the elimination or modification of a nonessential job duty or the transfer of a nonessential job duty to another employee or coworker.
What is Neurodiversity and Neurodivergence?
Neurodiversity is the concept that recognizes and embraces the natural variation in the human brain and that no two individuals think, process information, learn, interact, behave, or perceive the world the same. Neurodiversity emphasizes the need to move away from the view that neurological conditions are primarily negative or problematic. Instead, neurodiversity promotes the idea that neurological conditions are simply normal variations in the human brain rather than disorders or deficits.
Neurodivergence refers to the condition or state of having a neurological difference or being outside of what is considered neurotypical. Neurotypical refers to the variation in the human brain that falls within the norm. Neurodivergence is not inherently negative or indicative of a disorder. Neurodivergent individuals have unique perspectives, strengths, and challenges that can contribute to the diversity and richness of the human experience. About 15 to 20 percent of the United States’ population is neurodivergent. It is important to treat neurodivergent individuals with respect and to provide them with reasonable accommodations when necessary to thrive in the workplace.
What are considered neurodivergent conditions?
Neurodivergence encompasses a range of conditions, including but not limited to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, Tourette syndrome, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety, and schizophrenia.
The Steps of a Neurodivergence Discrimination Claim
The first issue is always whether you work for a covered employer. Your employer is only bound by the ADA if it has 15 or more employees but is covered under Ohio law if there are only four or more employees.
One of the biggest and most significant changes to the ADA was the inclusion of employees that the employer regards as disabled and/or neurodivergent. This is by far the easiest way to establish a claim.
As a result, you can be covered under the ADA if you fall into any of these categories: (a) you have a physical or mental impairment (i.e., a neurodivergent condition) that substantially limits your major life activities; (b) you have a neurodivergent condition that may or may not substantially limit your major life activities, but your employer treats you as if you do; (c) you have a neurodivergent condition that substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others towards your neurodivergent condition, or (d) you do not have a neurodivergent condition that substantially limits your major life activities, but your employer treats you as if you do.
To qualify as a neurodivergent condition that limits your major life activities, the neurodivergent condition must prohibit or significantly restrict your ability to perform activities such as caring for yourself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, sitting, standing, lifting, thinking, concentrating, and interacting with others.
Regarding the ability to work, your neurodivergent condition substantially limits your ability to work if it prevents or significantly restricts you from performing a class of jobs or a broad range of jobs in various classes as opposed to your specific job, which you still need to be able to perform with some accommodations.
When Should You Suspect Discrimination?
If you find yourself saying or thinking one of the following about your job or employer, you could have a neurodivergence discrimination claim for damages:
- I was fired today because of my ADHD.
- My supervisor teases and harasses me about my social anxiety.
- My boss makes fun of me because I have ASD.
- I get harassed because my manager and supervisor think that I have dyslexia even thought I don’t.
- My manager makes employment decisions based on my ASD.
- My job will not hire other bipolar workers.
- My boss pays me less than neurotypical employees with less skill and/or less experience.
- I want to sue my company for employment discrimination at work.
- My supervisor gave me bad reviews that I don’t deserve and then fired me because of my ADHD.
- My boss said he will not waste time training OCD employees because we can’t do the job anyway.
- My job will not accommodate my dyslexia.
- My employer will not give me an easy accommodation to help me do my job.
- My boss replaced neurodivergent workers with neurotypical employees.
Frequently Asked Questions Around Neurodivergence Discrimination
When someone suspects their neurodivergence was the reason they were rejected from a job, fired or put on a reduced schedule, there are many questions that arise including: