The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was established in 1990 to protect workers who suffer physical or mental impairments from being discriminated against by current or potential employers. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 expanded the original act to cover a wider range of impairments and better protect disabled individuals. Despite these laws, many employers still discriminate against disabled workers by firing them without cause and denying employment, promotions, or opportunities for advancement.
Who Is Protected by the ADA?
The ADA protects people who have physical or mental disabilities that impair their abilities to:
- perform manual tasks,
- and more.
People with permanent conditions like epilepsy, partial or full paralysis, hearing and visual impairments, and learning disabilities are often covered by the ADA. People with minor or nonpermanent conditions — such as temporary illnesses and broken bones — are not. If you’re unsure if you’re covered by the ADA, contact our law firm and speak with one of our Nashville employment lawyers.
What Type of Damages Are Available in Discrimination Lawsuits?
Disabled Tennesseans who are wrongfully terminated for reasons of discrimination may be entitled to a variety of damages to compensate them for their illegal firing. Damages may include:
- Back Pay – What you are owed in lost wages from an illegal termination, beginning from the day you were fired due to discrimination and ending on the day that your case is settled.
- Front Pay – Any future wages lost from your termination due to discrimination until you can obtain a new job. For example, if the jury agrees it will take you six months to find a new job, you may be entitled to six months of front pay.
- Lost benefits – The combined worth of any benefits lost due to your illegal termination, such as the cost of healthcare coverage, dental insurance, retirement plans, stock options, and so on.
- Emotional Distress – Getting fired for reasons outside of your control can be extremely stressful. After being the victim of workplace discrimination for your disability, you may be able to claim damages for emotional distress. This is also known as “pain and suffering” in a legal context.
- Attorneys’ fees and costs – In discrimination lawsuits, the defendant (in this case, your employer) is usually responsible for paying all legal fees, including the plaintiff’s attorney fees, if they are found guilty.
The exact cost of your illegal firing may be difficult to calculate, which is why we recommend speaking with an experienced employment lawyer. The team at Ponce Law can help uncover evidence that proves how your life has been negatively impacted by your illegal firing to determine how much you might be owed.
Filing a Discrimination Claim in Tennessee
If you’ve been fired, excluded from the hiring process, or otherwise discriminated against by a Tennessee employer because of your disability, you can file a discrimination claim with one of two agencies:
- Tennessee Human Rights Commission (THRC), when the employer has fewer than 15 employees
- If filing with the THRC, you must submit your claim within 180 days from the date of discrimination.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), when the employer has more than 15 employees
- If filing with the THRC, you must submit your claim within 300 days from the date of discrimination.
If you wish to bring your discrimination case to court, you must first submit a claim through one of these agencies.
The Ponce Law No Fee Guarantee®
Don’t hold back from hiring a lawyer after being discriminated against for your disability just because you don’t think you can afford one. Our consultations are free, and you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Fee Guarantee®.
Discrimination cases can be difficult to prove, and your employer will fight back as hard as they can. Legal representation is one of the most effective methods to get the compensation you deserve if you believe you’ve been discriminated against.
We’ll Stand Up to the Employer
At Ponce Law, we know that it can be intimidating to file a claim against an employer for discrimination—but you don’t have to do it alone. If you received unfair treatment from a company, our employment lawyers can fight for your rights to compensation. It’s our goal to make sure your employment law case gets the attention it deserves—contact us today.