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Medical discrimination is a very real thing that happens more than we might realize. In simple terms, it is the act of discriminating against someone based on a medical condition they have, whether it’s a permanent or temporary condition.
The following are ways that medical discrimination may present itself in practice.
Refusing to Hire
An employer may refuse to hire someone for many reasons, but refusing to hire someone due to a medical disability or hardship is not a good or legal reason. They may make the mistake of assuming that the individual with the medical condition is “unfit” or “incapable” of performing job duties as someone without such a condition.
Just like those without a medical condition, those with a medical condition have the right to have an equal shot at getting a job.
Providing Different Pay
Even though by law every individual, medical condition or not, is considered equal, one act of medical discrimination that may happen is when the employee pays an employee with a medical condition less than that of an employee without such. They may consider them “worth less” if they aren’t able to keep up or perform the way their colleagues can.
Apart from paying the employee with a medical condition less, the employer may even refuse to ever give the employee a raise, bonus, or promotion simply because of the state of their health.
Just as bad as refusing to hire someone for a medical condition is firing them for such. An employer might be hesitant to give the employee a chance but may later backtrack and deem the employee “unfit” to work for their company.
Intentionally Making the Job More Difficult
An employer may purposely try to make the job harder for an employee with a medical condition to try to make the employee feel like they’re the problem. Not to mention, this medical discrimination tactic may make the employee eventually quit due to how difficult the job is, which may be the ultimate goal of the employer.
Refusing to Provide Reasonable Accommodation
In the United States, employees with disabilities have the right to receive reasonable accommodations at work. For example, an employee with a disability that makes it difficult to walk may get a reserved parking spot and a prime cubicle or workstation towards the front of the building, or an employee with an intellectual disability may be given more time to complete work.
In the case of medical discrimination, an employer may refuse to accommodate an employee with a medical setback. They may threaten to fire them or reduce their pay if they can’t work without accommodation or may outright refuse to accommodate them simply because it requires “too much time or effort” to enact.
Medical Discrimination: Conclusion
Discriminating against someone for a medical condition they can’t help seems silly, but it’s a relatively frequent occurrence. Medical discrimination may come in the form of not hiring someone, firing someone, giving them unfair pay, not providing accommodations for them, or even purposely making the job harder. Fortunately, there is legal help for medical discrimination available.