If you or someone you know has experienced discrimination because of a disability in Missouri, it’s important to understand that help is available. Whether you have been denied access to public places, wrongfully fired from your job, or subjected to harassment and unfair treatment due to a disability, it’s never okay, and there are laws protecting your rights.
Knowing where and how to get the help needed can make all the difference.
Understand disability laws and how they protect people with disabilities
Many state and federal disability laws protect people with disabilities. We will focus on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA):
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a comprehensive federal law in the United States that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in various aspects of public life. Enacted in 1990 and amended in 2008, the ADA aims to ensure equal opportunities, accessibility, and inclusion for people with disabilities. Here’s a brief summary of how the ADA protects individuals with disabilities:
- Employment: The ADA prohibits discrimination in all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, promotions, training, and compensation. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations that enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform their duties unless it imposes an undue hardship on the employer.
- Public Accommodations: The ADA mandates that businesses, government entities, and other places open to the public must provide equal access to goods, services, and facilities for individuals with disabilities. This includes making reasonable modifications to policies, removing physical barriers, and ensuring effective communication.
- State and Local Government Services: State and local government agencies, including public schools and transportation services, must provide equal access to programs, services, and activities for individuals with disabilities. This involves accessible facilities, communication accommodations, and reasonable modifications unless it causes undue burden.
- Public Services: The ADA prohibits discrimination by state and local government agencies in providing public services, programs, and activities. This encompasses voting, public housing, parks and recreation, and law enforcement.
- Telecommunications: The ADA ensures equal access to telecommunications services for individuals with hearing or speech disabilities. It requires telephone companies to provide relay services that facilitate communication between individuals with disabilities and those without.
Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA)
The Missouri Human Rights Act “prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, and places of public accommodations based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, age (in employment only), and familial status (in housing only). The Act also makes it unlawful to retaliate against an individual for filing a complaint of discrimination, testifying or assisting in an investigation, or proceeding under the Act. Additionally, the Act protects individuals against discrimination based on their association with a person in a protected category.”
In the workplace, the MHRA covers employers with six or more employees, including state and local governments and businesses offering their goods and services to the general public.
Federal and state resources
Federal and state resources are available to help individuals report disability discrimination. These resources provide key support and protection for those who have faced discrimination based on their disabilities. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is one such resource, working tirelessly to ensure that individuals with disabilities are given equal opportunities and treated fairly under the law.
Additionally, the Missouri Commission on Human Rights offers guidance and support for residents within the state. Together, these resources work to create a world where individuals with disabilities are valued, respected, and celebrated for their unique abilities. By reporting incidents of discrimination, we can help build a stronger, more inclusive society for all.
Delta Center in St. Louis, Missouri, is the place to turn to if you struggle to access crucial information to file a disability discrimination complaint. Our experienced team is here to help you through our Information and Referral services by researching your options and providing referrals to the appropriate agencies. We are confident we can point you in the right direction to take the necessary steps toward achieving justice. With Delta Center by your side, you can be assured that your rights are protected, and your voice is heard.
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
(202) 514-0716 (TTY)