Lawsuit Alleges Discrimination Based on Perceived Disability

Employment news reports that the federal government has filed a lawsuit against Amtrak, alleging employment discrimination. According to the disability discrimination complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Amtrak unlawfully discriminated against a person who had epilepsy.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals with a disability in terms of their employment. This means that it is unlawful for companies to take negative actions against those qualified individuals, such as firing, not hiring, not promoting, or retaliating as a result of a disability or even a perceived disability.

The ADA protects against discrimination based on stereotypes and unfounded concerns about an individual’s medical condition and medical history. Thus, even if you are not actually disabled, but you have a record or history of a disability, your employer cannot take adverse action against you. Furthermore, even if you aren’t actually disabled and don’t have a history or record of disability, you may still be protected by the ADA if your employer regards or perceives you as being disabled.

In this instance, the lawsuit asserts that Amtrak violated the ADA by rescinding a job offer after discovering the man had epilepsy. A representative noted, “Twenty-five years ago, Congress passed the ADA to protect Americans with disabilities from employment discrimination based on myths and stereotypes about their conditions.”

Here, the EEOC alleged that Amtrak wrongly withdrew the job offer based on a “perceived disability,” commenting that “it is critical that employers do not base job decisions on stereotypes but instead carefully consider an employee’s abilities.”

If you have suffered negative employment consequences as a result of a disability—actual or perceived—it’s important to understand your rights and fight back. For more information, please contact the experienced Atlanta discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP.