People with disabilities continue to struggle with discrimination in Houston and across the country. Despite the protections provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act, companies continue to engage in policies related to hiring, promotion, and workplace practices that put workers with disabilities at an unfair disadvantage or exclude them altogether. In one case, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas has agreed to pay $75,000 in order to settle a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Front-door greeters working at Walmart stores in Texas will soon need to meet new job requirements established by the popular retailer. The company reportedly intends to remove about 1,000 greeter positions across America. As a result, many greeters with disabilities may lose their jobs. The reason this is happening is because the retailer is replacing its well-known greeter position with a newly created "customer host" position, which has additional physical job requirements.
Roughly 15 percent of the world's population has a disability. According to the American Health Association, approximately 75 percent of employees throughout the country have a mental health issue. However, some Texas workers may choose not to disclose their illnesses because they fear negative consequences for doing so. The downside to not disclosing a mental illness could be the impact it has on an individual's overall health.
Texas residents with disabilities may have legal recourse if they suspect that they are victims of employment discrimination. Under the federal American with Disabilities Act of 1990, it is illegal to engage in employment discrimination against individuals with qualified disabilities.
People in Texas and throughout the country who have disabilities generally need extra help to live and work. However, disclosing their disabilities may make it harder to find a job. The Americans With Disabilities Act is designed to help such individuals remain competitive in the job market. This doesn't mean that employers necessarily understand or comply with it. Those who have mental conditions also tend to feel as if companies only take steps to help those with physical disabilities.
Walmart discriminated against a job applicant by assuming her disability would prevent her from working, according to a lawsuit filed by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. The complaint against Wal-mart Stores Texas, LLC says that the female applicant is a congenital amputee who was turned down for a job at Walmart based on an assumption that she could not perform job duties, even though she was working at another retailer at the time.
Coca-Cola bottles beverages that are popular with Houston residents. It employs thousands of people across the country, and it has faced persistent problems with discrimination against workers with disabilities. The company settled with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in August, pledging to pay $2.25 million to resolve nine different disability discrimination cases relating to its failure to accommodate disabled workers. In addition, the company also agreed to update its procedures and policies for accommodations.
Individuals with disabilities in Texas and around the country face enormous challenges. Federal law prohibits workplace discrimination based on disability and requires employers to take reasonable steps to accommodate workers with disabilities, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the federal agency tasked with holding employers responsible when these laws are violated. A recent case dealing with these issues involved the Ohio-based retailer Macy's.
Many Houston workers with disabilities face disadvantageous conditions on the job. Over 54 million people across the United States have a disability, but people with serious disabilities who work full time earn $1,000 less each month on average than workers without disabilities. Another 13.3 million people of working age are unemployed or have experienced difficulty securing employment due to their disabilities; they have a 70 percent unemployment rate.
For employees in Texas and across the country, the right to communication with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is protected under federal law. One of the EEOC's enforcement priorities is preserving access to the system for employees facing discrimination on the job. There are a number of actions that employers can take that can chill employees' freedom to report discrimination to the EEOC, and those actions are unlawful.