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Workplace discrimination against the deaf and hard of hearing

Anyone in Texas who has been discriminated against in employment over a disability can file a discrimination complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division. The American Disabilities Act and Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 prohibit employers from discriminating, against employees or applicants with hiring, conditions, procedures or privileges of employment. The Texas Labor Code applies to employers with over 15 employees and all local, state and government entities, regardless of the number of employees.

Disabilities in the Texas workplace

Under the ADA and Chapter 21, qualified individuals either have a mental or physical disability that limits one or more major life activities, have a record of having a disability or are regarded as having a disability. Employees with disabilities must be able to perform essential job tasks with or without reasonable accommodation. Individuals who need accommodations due to a disability must request them from their employer. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations that don’t interfere with their regular business operations.

Employers and disabilities in Texas

Reasonable accommodations must not create substantial difficulties or expenses for the employer. Employers are not required to lower production or quality standards to accommodate disabled applicants or employees. Reasonable accommodations may include altering the schedule, providing qualified interpreters, making facilities readily accessible to the disabled or providing additional training. Employers can ask about the ability to perform specific tasks, but it’s considered employer discrimination to ask an applicant or employee about any disabilities.

Medical examinations for employment must be within the scope of the work required and administered to other employees in similar jobs. The ADA and Chapter 21 medical examination restrictions do not apply when employers test for substance abuse. Harassment based on a disability, on a history of disability or being regardless as disabled is considered disability harassment, a violation of state and federal Equal Opportunity Employment laws.