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Disability Rights

What are disability rights?

As per the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), disability in a person is characterized by physical or mental limitations which results in significant restrictions to perform one or more major life activities. With new amendments in the act, the limitation experienced by the disabled person need not be subjected to extensive scrutiny and in most cases may not require scientific, medical or statistical support. The advantage of this amendment is it allows disability to be proved easier and helps reinstate disability rights.

Listed below are a few questions answered by the Experts on issues related to disability rights.

I was denied teaching credential due to disability. Is there a time frame in filing a civil rights suit against the university?

Federal law specifically forbids discrimination based on sex, gender, race, religion, disability or ethnicity of an individual when it comes to hiring, promotions and even terminations. A claim based on discrimination due to disability must be first taken up with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to seek permission to file a suit against the offenders. If granted, a formal complaint must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days from the incident. Once the complaint is filed the aggrieved party cannot take immediate retaliatory action. The EEOC will first need to conduct their investigations. After 180 days, the accused party needs to seek a “right to sue letter”. The EEOC may issue the letter which then provides the option to file a civil suit and seek monetary compensation.

I am a person with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I entered a public establishment with my service dog but I was denied entry along with the dog. Is this lawful?

Under the ADA, business and public establishments such as restaurants, hotels, banks, stores, and so on cannot discriminate against individuals with disabilities. The ADA also stipulates people with disabilities can bring their service animals into premises which are generally permissible and accessible to the regular customers of the establishment. In addition there is no specific definition or state/federal license required for the service animal. The regulations only require that you demonstrate the dog has been trained to provide assistance to assist you with your disability. You have the right to file a complaint as well as file a federal lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice against the owner of the establishment.

I was denied short term disability by my employer. I requested for the medical and financial information based on which they made the decision but I was denied. Do I have any rights?

Disability rights are primarily intended for cases where people suffer long term and permanent disability. The ADA also recognizes a disabled person should not be discriminated against. However your case of short term disability is concerned with a contractual issue which falls out of the purview of disability rights. Your employer is not contractually bound to disclose the requested information nor do you have a legal right to obtain the information you are requesting for.

I am enrolled on social security disability residing on the second floor. Recently I underwent treatment which prevents me from climbing stairs. I requested my landlord supported with my doctor’s note to provide alternate accommodation. I was denied. What can I do?

First thing to consider is if the landlord is not in a position to offer you another reasonable accommodation since he does not own any other property, he has the right to enforce the lease. Contracts including rental leases or agreements are legally enforceable even if they may not be ethical. You can try to negotiate a settlement with the help of an attorney. In the event of the landlord being able to provide alternate accommodation but reluctant to do so, the ADA stipulates in such a scenario, the landlord is still obligated to make the necessary adjustment because of your disability. You can contact the following entities which may be able to provide assistance.

• Office of Program Compliance and Disability Rights
• Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
• U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

As a parent on disability, do I have rights to custody of my child?

You will have the opportunity for custody of your child as long as you can provide for the child’s needs through the income you earn.

Dealing with a disability may be challenging and emotional. However, disabilities rights help provide a foundation in order to try and gain equal footing with any other regular individual. There are several other rights apart from the ones elaborated here which may be more applicable to your situation or condition. Consulting Experts can help you gain useful insights and information pertaining to the area you are living in and your particular circumstance.
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