des moines disability discrimination lawyer

One of our Des Moines employment law specialties is disability discrimination law. This is an area of employment discrimination law that'll continue growing over the coming years. That's especially true since the federal Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act went into effect on January 1, 2009. That law was specifically intended to broaden the scope and protections of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Iowa's courts have likewise begun expanding disability discrimination protections under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. 

We have invested significant time following and studying the changes in disability discrimination law that have occurred since January 1, 2009. Disability discrimination law is very different than it was on December 31, 2008. It's important to stay on top of those changes, especially because they have been for the benefit of the employees we represent.

Who is considered disabled?

To be eligible for a disability discrimination law claim under federal or state law, an employee must prove that they're "disabled" as defined by those laws. It used to be said that not everyone was considered "disabled" within the meaning of disability discrimination laws. In many respects, the opposite is now true since the passage of the federal Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act. The result of that law has been that most every employee who's treated differently or subjected to adverse employment because of any actual or perceived physical or mental impairment has a possible disability discrimination claim. Only physical or mental impairments that are temporary and minor do not qualify for ADA protection.

Federal and state law recognize several categories of disabled persons: (1) actually disabled; (2) having a record of a past disability; and (3) being "regarded as" disabled, sometimes referred to as "perceived" disability. With the exception of claims regarding failure to provide a reasonable disability accommodation, "regarded as" is the easiest and preferred type of disability discrimination claim. But all three require analysis of statutes, regulations, and caselaw and application of such sources to the specific facts of each case. Only employees who fall within one of the three disability categories are protected by state and federal discrimination laws.    

What employment actions are prohibited?

Disability discrimination laws prohibit the same types of employer conduct as other employment discrimination laws. Employers cannot rely on employees' disabilities in making employment decisions.  Consideration of an employee's disability, even if it's not the sole consideration, is illegal. Examples of decisions that can involve disability discrimination include:

  • Hiring

  • Firing

  • Promotions

  • Disciplinary Decisions

  • Pay

  • Benefits

Those are the most common examples of disability discrimination. 

Various remedies are available for disability discrimination

The disability discrimination laws are written in a way that allows judges and juries to tailor the appropriate relief for each individual case. The different remedies available in disability discrimination cases include:

  • Past and future lost wages.

  • The value of past and future lost benefits.

  • The value of lost promotion opportunities.

  • Emotional distress.

  • Punitive damages.

  • Court orders directing your employer to take certain action, such as reinstating you to your former position.

  • Attorney fees and expenses.

The ability of a court to issue orders to your employer is particularly useful, especially for situations in which money damages won't necessarily address the situation.

Would you like more information?

We have considerable handling employment law cases from our Des Moines law firm, having argued and won them in trial courts and appellate courts on behalf of various types of employees. We have amassed a great deal of knowledge about all aspects of employment law through our work on behalf of those employees. We welcome you to share in some of that knowledge by reviewing various blog posts that we have made on employment discrimination topics. A few examples that you might find helpful can be accessed through our Employment Discrimination Law page.  Specific posts regarding disability discrimination include:

Revisiting The "Interactive Process" Under The Americans With Disabilities Act

Clearing Up Confusion About The ADA's "Interactive Process" For Reasonable Accommodation Claims

Avoiding A Collision At The Intersection Of SSDI Benefits And The ADA

Your attorney is waiting.

We make every effort to provide a same-day response to all communications received during weekday business hours. Initial telephone calls are always free. If it looks like we can help, it'll be our pleasure to meet with you, learn more about your situation, and lend you a hand. We handle as many of our cases as possible on a contingent fee basis, meaning that there's no fee unless we make a monetary recovery for you.


Erbe Law Firm 
2501 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50312
(515) 281-1460

Erbe Law Firm has proudly served clients throughout Iowa since 2005 from our Des Moines law firm. We look forward to hearing from you to see whether we can do the same for you.

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