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Your Rights Disability Discrimination: State Law

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Disability discrimination means treating individuals differently in employment because of their disability, perceived disability, or association with an individual with a disability. Some examples of disability discrimination may include:

  • Discriminating on the basis of physical or mental disability in various aspects of employment, including: recruitment, firing, hiring, training, job assignments, promotions, pay, benefits, layoffs, leave and all other employment-related activities.
  • Harassing an employee on the basis of his or her disability.
  • Asking job applicants questions about their past or current medical conditions, or requiring job applicants to take medical exams.
  • Creating or maintaining a workplace that includes substantial physical barriers to the movement of people with physical disabilities.
  • Refusing to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees with physical or mental disability that would allow them to work.

If any of these things have happened to you on the job, you may have suffered disability discrimination. If you have a disability and are qualified to do a job, there are federal and state laws protecting you from job discrimination, harassment, and retaliation on the basis of your disability. Please see below to review your state’s disability discrimination laws.

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

District of Columbia

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Alabama
Alabama’s disability discrimination statute only applies to state and state-funded employers.  Thus, only employees of these types of employers can file a state law disability discrimination claim. The statute only covers physical disabilities.  Alabama’s statute does not have a minimum amount of funding in order for coverage under the statute to apply, so any employer receiving state funds would be required to abide by the discrimination statute. 
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Alaska

Employees of public or private employers, labor organizations,and employment agencies are protected from discrimination based on disability under Alaska’s state law.  It is unlawful in the state of Alaska to refuse to employ someone because of their physical or mental disability when reasonable demands of the position do not require distinction based on physical or mental disability.  Alaska appears to protect medical conditions only when they produce some substantial impairment.  Alaska’s statutes do not contain an explicit requirement that employers provide reasonable accommodations, but such a requirement has been implied by the state’s case law.  A disability discrimination action may be commenced before the Alaska Human Rights Commission.  The statute of limitations is 300 days before the Commission and two years to file a suit in superior court.
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Arizona

The Arizona statute allows you to bring a disability discrimination action against public and private employers that employ 15 or more individuals.  Arizona employers are not allowed to hire, refuse to hire, or fire based on a disability and must attempt to reasonably accommodate an individual’s handicap.  This rule does not apply if the disability significantly impairs the person’s ability to meet the qualifications of the position in question.  An individual has 180 days to file a charge with the Civil Rights Division.
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Arkansas

The Arkansas disability discrimination statute applies to employers with 9 or more employees, and only applies to individuals with a physical disability.  Employers who receive state funding, as well as state and local government employers are subject to the statute.  You must bring a claim within one year following the alleged discrimination or within 90 days following the EEOC’s issuance of a right-to-sue letter, whichever is later. 
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California

In California, the disability discrimination statutes apply to employers that employ 15 or more individuals.

AIDS is considered a physical disability under the California disability discrimination statutes, while mental disabilities are covered under a separate statute. An individual must initiate an administrative action by filing a complaint with the state Fair Employment and Housing Commissionwithin one year of the alleged discrimination (90 additional days are added to this limitation if the discrimination is discovered after the expiration of one year.) If the Commission fails to initiate a proceeding within 150 days of filing, the aggrieved person may then file suit in court.
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Colorado

Employees and job applicants in Colorado are protected against discrimination by public and private employers with two or more employees.  An employer may not refuse to hire, fire, demote, or discriminate in matters of compensation against an otherwise qualified person because of that person’s disability. If you have been discriminated against, you must file an administrative complaint within six months of the discrimination. 
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Connecticut

Disability discrimination laws in Connecticut apply to all employers who employ more than 3 people.

It is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire, or to terminate an employee "because of the individual's present or past history of mental disorder, mental retardation, or physical disability, including, but not limited to, blindness," unless the action is based on a bona fide qualification for the particular job. Perceived disabilities are not protected.  Pregnancy is protected as a disability under Connecticut law.  It is also unlawful for an employer to retaliate against a person for filing a discrimination claim under these laws. Retaliation may include refusing to hire, firing, demoting, or other negative employment actions. A discrimination claim under state law must be filed within 180 days from the date of discrimination with the Connecticut Human Rights Commission.  If the complaint is dismissed, the claimant may request reconsideration, or, within 90 days, may file an action in the superior court where the discrimination is occurred or where the employer does business.
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Delaware

Delaware disability discrimination laws apply to all employers who employ 15 or more people. The state law protects those with physical impairments, impairments resulting from disease, mental impairments, and those with a history of any of these. Delaware law does not protect individuals whose current use of alcohol or drugs prevents them from performing the job in question or would constitute a direct threat to the property or safety of others.  Delaware's adoption of the Rehabilitation Act provisions and regulations suggests that Delaware protects only those conditions that actually cause impairment to a major life activity, like driving, or walking, for example. The law protects people whose disability is such that they cannot do a substantial number of jobs. An action is initiated by filing a charge with the state Department of Labor within 90 days after the discriminatory practice or within 120 days of its discovery, whichever is later.
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District of Columbia

The District of Columbia protects employees and applicants from discrimination in employment by public and private sector employers, their agents, employment agencies, and labor organizations. The District of Columbia law covers "physical disabilities," pregnancy discrimination, which is included in the provision prohibiting sex discrimination, and "personal appearance" as well as "sexual orientation" and mental disablement. Employment agencies are prohibited from failing or refusing to refer individuals because of a disability.  Labor organizations are prohibited from excluding, expelling from membership, or otherwise discriminating against the handicapped. D.C. law also contains restrictions on behavior in employer training programs and advertising. Finally, the Act makes it unlawful to retaliate against an employee who makes a discrimination complaint, or to aid or support someone who has been charged with discrimination.

The District of Columbia does not allow discriminatory motive to play a role in an adverse employment determination.  However, an employer may lawfully discriminate if the disability prevents the employee from performing his or her job, even after "reasonable accommodation," or if the action is taken pursuant to a bona fide seniority or bona fide employee benefit system. 

An employee must initiate an action within one year of the discriminatory action, or the discovery of the discrimination, whichever is later.  Any employee may file an administrative action and pursue an administrative hearing if there is reasonable cause to believe that the complaint's allegations are true.  Alternatively, a private employee, not a government employee, may bring a cause of action in the trial court of general jurisdiction, seeking damages and other appropriate relief.
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Florida

Florida’s disability discrimination laws apply to public and private sector employers with 15 or more employees. 

Florida has two provisions that address disability discrimination. One concerns public employment which resembles a general declaration of public policy against discrimination by an employer  because of an employee’s physical or mental disability. The second prohibits an employer from discharging, failing or refusing to hire, or otherwise discriminating against an individual because of a disability.

Florida’s employment discrimination statute contains no definition of "handicap." However, Florida courts have recognized that the housing discrimination law substantially tracks the federal Rehabilitation Act definition, defining "handicap" as a "physical impairment [including mental retardation] which substantially limits one or more major life activities” or “a record of having ”or “being regarded as having” such physical impairment. 

An individual can make a discrimination claim under the Florida statute by filing a charge with the Florida Commission on Human Rights (FCHR) within 365 days of the discriminatory action.
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Georgia

Georgia’s anti-discrimination laws apply to public, publicly funded, and private employers with 15 or more employees, as well as employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint employer-labor organization training programs regardless of the number of employees.  Georgia law provides that employers may not "fail or refuse to hire, nor shall any employer discharge or discriminate against any individual with disabilities … unless such disability restricts that individual's ability to engage in the particular job or occupation for which he or she is eligible."

The state law protects those with physical or mental impairments, or a record of such impairment when the impairment substantially limits one or more major life activities. The law that allows public and private employees to sue for disability discrimination in court does not protect job applicants or employees with contagious diseases " carried by or afflicting the applicant,"nor does it protect those with drug or alcohol addiction, regardless of whether the addiction affects job performance. However, the law providing an administrative remedy as opposed to a court remedy, for public employees only, does not contain these exceptions. 

The statute of limitations for filing suit in court under state law is 180 days.
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Hawaii

Hawaii’s anti-discrimination laws apply to public, publicly funded, and private employers, as well as employment agencies, labor organizations, and joint employer-labor training programs.  Hawaii law protects those with physical or mental impairments that substantially limits one or more major life activities, those with a record of such impairments, and those perceived as having such impairments.

Hawaii statutory language does not make an explicit exception for substance abuse like some other states do. At this time it is unclear whether Hawaii’s discrimination law protects those with current substance abuse problems that their affect job performance.

Hawaii’s anti-discrimination statute does not clearly specify whether employers must give disabled workers reasonable accommodations, but Hawaii’s administrative regulations do require that reasonable accommodations be made.

The statute of limitations for filing a complaint with the state agency is 180 days from the date of discrimination, or, if a pattern of discrimination, from the last occurrence. Before filing an action in state court you must file a claim with the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission. Once you receive a Notice of Right to Sue or Notice of Determination or similar notice from HCRC you must file your action in state court within 90 days.
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Idaho

Idaho’s anti-discrimination laws apply to public employers, public contractors and subcontractors, and private employers.. An employer must employ five or more people to be covered by the state law. Private clubs are excluded from coverage. Idaho law also prohibits discrimination by employment agencies, labor organizations, and agents of employers or labor organizations.

Idaho law provides that an employer may not "discriminate against a person because of, or on a basis of … handicap" unless the employee’s handicap "even with a reasonable accommodation … prevents the performance of the work required by the employer in that job." Idaho's definition of "disability" includes those with physical and mental impairments causing a substantial disability demonstrable by medically accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques, those with a record of such a disability, or those perceived as having such a disability. Temporarily disabling conditions are also covered.

An employee claiming discrimination may file a complaint with the Idaho Commission on Human Rights within one year of the discrimination.
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Illinois

Illinois’ anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers having 15 or more employees, governmental employers, and governmental contractors.

Illinois law protects those with physical or mental impairments, those with a record of such impairment, and those perceived as having an impairment (provided, in the case of perceived impairment, that the employer perceives the individual "to have a condition which would be a handicap under the Human Rights Act"). Disease can constitute a protected handicap if it produces a demonstrable impairment.

Illinois falls within the group of states that protect medical conditions only if they actually impair a major life activity. Moreover, Illinois, appears to require an impairment that limits a person from engaging in a significant number of jobs, as opposed to an impairment that prevents a person from doing only a single job for a single employer.

Although the Illinois statute does not appear to require and employer to provide reasonable accommodation that would allow a disabled employee to effectively do a job, Illinois Human Rights Commission regulations and judicial decisions do impose this requirement. For the employee to be entitled to accommodation, the employer must be aware of the disability, the employee must request accommodation, and the accommodation must be necessary for adequate job performance. The requirement applies both to employers and labor organizations unless the employer "can demonstrate that such accommodation would be prohibitively expensive or would unduly disrupt the ordinary conduct of business" when costs are weighed against benefits. In addition, public contractors and state agencies have affirmative action obligations with respect to employing individuals with disabilities.

Illinois regulations define "reasonable accommodation" to include alteration of the facility or work site, modifications of work schedules or leave policy, acquisition of equipment, job restructuring, and provision of readers or interpreters; but not providing personal items such as glasses or hearing aids, and not "any superfluous accommodation" (such as giving a blind employee a chauffeur to facilitate travel). Illinois decisions interpreting "reasonable accommodation" have required an employer to transfer an employee to a division with a schedule that fit her disability (in the same job), but the cases have held that an employer may not be required to place the employee in a different position as an accommodation. Moreover, while some "job restructuring" may be required to accommodate a disability, an employer need not keep a disabled employee in the same job drawing the same pay while relieving the employee of the difficult tasks required for the position.

Illinois state law allows an employer to ask a job applicant about physical or mental capacity to perform a particular job, engage in pre-employment testing of physical or mental capabilities, require pre-employment medical examinations, or even make inquiries about handicapping conditions, provided that such practices are confined to ascertaining job related limitations and the need for or feasibility of accommodations.

An Illinois employee or job applicant who has been discriminated against must file a charge with the Illinois Human Rights Commission within 180 days of the discriminatory practice to obtain an administrative remedy.
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Indiana

Indiana anti-discrimination laws apply to private sector employers (except religious and nonprofit charitable organizations and their schools, or nonprofit social clubs) that have six or more employees, and governmental employers of any size, as well as labor organizations or employment agencies. Employees and job applicants are protected under these state laws, but volunteers, persons employed by their own parents, and domestic workers are excluded from protection.

Indiana does not appear to provide protection for a history of a disability or for a perceived disability, but only for a current actual disability.  Indiana employers may conduct pre-employment inquiries concerning physical or mental capacities or handicap, pre-employment testing, or pre-employment medical examinations. However, the Civil Rights Commission's Guide to Pre-employment Inquiries does impose some limits. It is lawful in Indiana to inquire concerning whether an individual would pose a hazard to themselves or others, or whether employing them would require architectural modification; it may not be lawful, however, to inquire otherwise concerning the nature and extent of a handicap. The statute also forbids retaliation by employers against employees or applicants who file discrimination claims.

The Indiana statute provides for an administrative remedy initiated by filing a complaint with the state Civil Rights Commission within 180 days of the discriminatory act or the exhaustion of the last step of a meaningful grievance procedure provided by the employer, whichever is later.
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Iowa

In Iowa, employees and applicants are protected from discrimination by public and private employers with four or more employees (not counting employer family members), and any size employment agency or labor organization.

Iowa law makes it illegal to refuse to hire, accept, register, classify, or refer for employment, or to discharge any employee, or otherwise discriminate "because of the … disability of such applicant or employee." To be protected from disability discrimination an employee or applicant must suffer from a substantial handicap, including those resulting from being HIV positive or having other diseases. Qualifying conditions include a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits (including episodically limits) one or more major life activities (among which is the ability to work), or having a record of such an impairment, or being regarded by others as having such an impairment. The definition specifically includes HIV-positive status and AIDS. Discrimination based on association with a disabled person is not addressed by the Iowa statute. A recent amendment expressly prohibits discrimination based on a positive HIV test (except when certain public health officials find a significant transmission risk in the job), and other diseases producing the requisite impairment appear to be covered as well. Substance addiction is covered. Pregnancy and related conditions also receive express protection, subject to some exceptions for abortion.

Regulations indicate that Iowa law protects only medical conditions that are current conditions and that impair major life activities.  Iowa does not protect a clear physical impairment if the condition does not substantially limit an individual's employability, given the number and types of jobs from which he or she is disqualified in the relevant geographic labor market and the individual's job training, experience, and expectations.

Iowa provides precise regulations by which employers are to judge employee qualifications. The employer must consider whether the employee has the physical and mental ability to perform, can perform without creating a danger to co-employee life or health, and has, or can acquire, necessary professional skills. Examinations should consider the degree to which a person has compensated for limitations and whether they have received rehabilitation services. Physical standards should be fair, reasonable, and adapted to the actual requirements of employment. Pre-employment tests should be conducted in a way that allows the disabled to demonstrate their knowledge or skill. These factors suggest that the employer's determination will not receive total deference when being reviewed by a court or administrative agency, but will be affirmed if reasoned.

Iowa's statute requires an employer to provide a handicapped employee with reasonable accommodation if the disability affects the individual's ability to perform, unless the accommodation necessary would pose an undue hardship on the operation of the business.  "Reasonable accommodation" may include making facilities accessible, job or schedule restructuring, or transfer.

Iowa law provides an administrative remedy for those discriminated against based on a handicap. The aggrieved person has 180 days within which to file a complaint.
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Kansas

In Kansas, employees and applicants (except domestics and immediate family members) are protected from discrimination by private employers (except nonprofit or social associations) having four or more employees, and public sector employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, and training programs regardless of number of employees.

The Kansas statute protects those having a disability from an employer's refusal to hire or employ, or its barring or discharging, or its limiting, segregating, or classifying, an employee because of disability unless it can show a "valid business necessity" For the action. “Disability" means "(1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities…(2) a record of such an impairment; or (3) being regarded as having such an impairment by the person or entity alleged to have committed the unlawful discriminatory practice complained of." To be protected, a physical impairment must substantially impair or disable the individual; a condition without impairment will not suffice. "Disability" does not include the current illegal use of a controlled substance.

Kansas requires that employers make "reasonable accommodations” for employees or applicants with disabilities.  Reasonable accommodation includes making existing facilities readily accessible, job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment or modification of examinations or training materials or policies, provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations.

Kansas law prohibits retaliation by employers against employees who make a discrimination complaint.

The state law provides an administrative remedy for persons aggrieved by handicap discrimination. The statute of limitations is six months. The Kansas Commission on Civil Rights will, after investigation, either dismiss the complaint if no probable cause is found, or find probable cause and attempt to resolve the issues between the employer and employee or applicant.
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Kentucky

Kentucky has two disability discrimination laws, one of general application and one law of more limited application.

Employees and applicants for employment are protected from discrimination in Kentucky by public and private sector employers having fifteen or more employees, the limited application statute covers employers with eight or more employees, as well employment agencies and labor organizations. Individual supervisors may not be defendants unless they otherwise qualify as an employer.

Kentucky law declares that it is unlawful for an employer to "fail or refuse to hire, discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against an individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because… the person is a qualified individual with a disability,” or because the individual is a smoker or non-smoker, as long as the person complies with any workplace policy concerning smoking. Kentucky law also prohibits limiting, segregating, or classifying employees on the basis of a disability or status as a smoker or non-smoker. It is also unlawful in Kentucky to require as a condition of employment that any employee or applicant abstain from smoking or using tobacco products outside the course of employment as long as the individual complies with workplace smoking policies. Kentucky imposes similar requirements on employment agencies, labor organizations, and labor management training organizations.

Kentucky defines "disability" to include a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment. Persons with current or past control substance abuse or alcohol abuse problems and persons excluded from coverage by the Federal ADA are excluded from the Kentucky definition of "disability." The parallel statute expressly excludes substance abuse, obesity, and communicable diseases other than HIV. The parallel statute also does not include conditions — such as coordination problems, vision problems, and varicose veins — that do not constitute a "substantial disability." The term "qualified individual with a disability" means an individual with a disability who, with our without reasonable accommodation, can perform the job's essential functions.” An employer is not required to provide reasonable accommodation if it demonstrates that it is unable to reasonably accommodate an employee's or a prospective employee's disability without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.

Kentucky law expressly allows for pre-employment inquiries "about the existence of an applicant's handicap and about the extent to which that handicap has been overcome by treatment, medication, appliances, or other rehabilitation." However, Kentucky places tight restriction on AIDS testing.

The Kentucky statute prohibits retaliationby an employer against an employee or applicant for making a claim of discrimination.

An aggrieved individual must file an administrative charge of discrimination within 180 days of the adverse employment action. However, nothing requires the employee to exhaust the administrative route prior to filing suit in court. The statute of limitations for filing suit in court is five years.
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Louisiana

Louisiana anti-discrimination laws apply to employers with 15 or more employees, and protect employees and applicants, except for domestic workers.

Louisiana law protects "otherwise qualified disabled persons." "Disabled person" includes a person with a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of the major life activities, with a record of such impairment, or who is regarded as having such an impairment.

Louisiana law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an individual who, with reasonable accommodation, could perform the essential functions of the job.

Louisiana law prohibits an employer from inquiring of an applicant or keeping recordsconcerning a disability if the inquiry was made for discriminatory purposes. The law also prohibits an employer from taking adverse employment action against an applicant or employee based on a physical or mental examination not directly related to the specific job's requirements.

Pregnancy receives separate protection under Louisiana law.

An aggrieved applicant or employee may initiate an action under the Louisiana statute by filing a complaint in civil district court for the parish in which the alleged violation occurred. A plaintiff must give the defendant 30 days' notice before filing the complaint, and both parties must make a good faith effort to resolve the dispute.
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Maine

Maine’s anti-discrimination laws apply to public and private employers, labor organizations,and employment agencies. Individuals are not subject to suit. The laws protect both job applicants and employees.

Maine provides that an employer may not fail or refuse to hire or discharge or otherwise discriminate in employment against employees because of physical or mental handicap.  Physical or mental handicap includes infirmities and impairments, malformation, disfigurement, congenital defect or mental condition. It includes a condition caused by disease. Learning disabilities are also covered. History of handicap or perception of handicap are not protected from discrimination under the state law, nor are sexual behavior disorders. Pregnancy is covered by a different provision.

Maine statutory provisions contain no definition of "reasonable accommodation" and no requirement that reasonable accommodations be provided by employers.

Maine law prohibits employers from inquiring about, or keeping records of an applicant’s or employee’s disability except when the employer determines that the disability is job related or the information is necessary to make a suitable job referral. Special provisions govern AIDS testing and genetic testing.

The Maine statute prohibits retaliation by employers against employees or applicants who make discrimination claims.

An aggrieved employee or applicant, to obtain full remedies, must file an administrative complaint within six months of the discrimination with the Maine Human Rights Commission.
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Maryland

Maryland’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers having fifteen or more employees, public employers, employment agencies, labor organizations, and employer-union training programs.

Maryland law makes it unlawful for an employer to "fail or refuse to hire or to discharge … or otherwise to discriminate against … or … limit, segregate, or classify" employees or applicants because of "physical or mental handicap unrelated in nature and extent so as to reasonably preclude the performance of employment." 

"Physical or mental handicap" includes any physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness (including epilepsy), paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness, hearing impairment, speech impairment, and reliance on a remedial appliance. Substance abuse is not protected under Maryland law. Pregnancy is protected if it creates a disability due to pregnancy or childbirth.

Maryland regulations indicate that the condition to be protected must be demonstrable by medically accepted clinical or laboratory techniques, and must substantially limit, or be regarded as substantially limiting, major life activities.  Persons having a record of, or who are perceived as having a handicap, are protected, as long as the record or perception substantially impairs employment, or as long as the employer treats the individual as having a substantial physical impairment.

Maryland permits employers to conduct pre-employment inquiry concerning physical or mental capacities or handicap, physical or mental testing, and medical examinations.

While the Maryland laws setting forth defined terms and required conduct do not refer to "reasonable accommodation," regulations and case law have imposed this obligation on employers. Employers may not discriminate based on a disability if the applicant or employee can perform the required duties of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation, and employers must provide a requested accommodation if it does not place an undue burden on the business.

A discrimination complaint can be filed with the Maryland Human Relations Commission, but an employee or applicant must do so within six months of the discriminatory action.
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Massachusetts

Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws apply to  private employers with six or more employees, employers in the public sector, employment agencies, and labor organizations.

Massachusetts law protects individuals having a physical or mental impairment substantially limiting a major life activity, those with a record of such an impairment, and those perceived as having such an impairment from discrimination in employment based on a disability.

Pregnancy, and impairments resulting from disease are also protected. As Massachusetts adopts the federal Rehabilitation Act definition of "handicap," Massachusetts protects only those conditions causing chronic, long term or permanent impairment. Massachusetts sets forth specific parameters for the employer to follow in determining fitness under its job qualifications. "Physical or mental job qualification requirements with respect to hiring, promotion, demotion, or dismissal from employment or any other change in employment status or responsibilities shall be functionally related to the specific job or jobs for which the individual is being considered and shall be consistent with the safe and lawful performance of the job." Massachusetts encourages employers to develop written job descriptions listing "only those functions which must be performed…or…may reasonably be expected to perform in that position."

The Massachusetts statute requires an employer to provide "reasonable accommodation" to handicapped employees if the accommodation would enable the employer to perform the job's essential functions without undue hardship to the employer.

An employer may not request information concerning, or keep a record of, treatment for mental illness unless the requirement is justified by a bona fide occupational qualification. Employers are also prohibited from refusing to hire a person who will not provide mental illness information unless it is a bona fide occupational qualification.  An employer restricted from testing or inquiring concerning physical condition or capacities, except that the employer may condition an offer of employment on a medical exam solely to determine whether the employee with reasonable accommodation, can perform the job's essential functions. Special provisions govern AIDS testing.

Massachusetts prohibits retaliation by employers against employees or applicants who request accommodations or make discrimination claims.

An aggrieved party may initiate a claim under the Massachusetts statute by filing a formal complaint within six months to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD).

Anyone claiming to be aggrieved may, within 90 days after filing a complaint with the commission (sooner with permission), file suit in court seeking injunctive relief, damages, and attorney's fees.
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Michigan

Michigan’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private sector employers and public sector employers with more than 4 employees.  Michigan does not allow an employer to fail to hire, recruit, or promote an individual based on a disability unrelated to the individual’s ability to perform the action.  The term "disability" means "a determinable mental or physical characteristic of an individual or a history of the characteristic which may result from disease, injury or functional disorder," substantially limits one or more major life activities, and is unrelated to the job qualifications; has a history of such a determinable physical or mental characteristic; or is regarded as having such a physical or mental characteristic.  "Disability" does not include a determinable mental or physical characteristic caused by the current illegal use of a controlled substance, and does not include a physical or mental characteristic caused by alcohol if, in the case of alcohol only, the characteristic prevents the individual from performing the duties of his or her job.

Michigan requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to a handicapped employeewho notifies the employer in writing of the need for the accommodation within 182 days of when he or she knew or should have known of the need.

An employee or applicant begins an action by filing a complaint in circuit court within three years of the discriminatory act. An aggrieved individual may take advantage of an administrative remedy by filing a charge with the Civil Rights Commission within 180 days of the discriminatory act.
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Minnesota

Minnesota’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with at least one employee and to all public employers.  Minnesota prevents an employer from refusing to hire or discharging a qualified disabled employee simply because they are disabled.  In Minnesota, a disability

means any condition or characteristic that results in a physical, sensory, or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record of such impairment;or being regarded as having such an impairment. Minnesota does not protect a condition resulting from alcohol or drug abuse if it prevents a person from performing the job's essential functions or constitutes a direct safety threat. Nor does it protect conditions resulting from work-related injuries. Pregnancy is also protected.

An employer with one or more part-time or full-time employees, an employment agency, or a labor organization must make a reasonable accommodation for a known disability of a qualified disabled person unless the employer can show undue hardship,  that the accommodation is available from an alternative source without cost.

 An employer may require an applicant who has been conditionally hired to undergo a medical examination (including a medical history) to determine if the individual meets the physical or mental job requirements provided that the examination tests only essential job related abilities, and the examination generally is required of all applicants.

An aggrieved person may bring a civil action in court or initiate an administrative remedy by filing a charge with the commissioner of the Department of Human Rights. 
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Mississippi

Mississippi does not have an extensive anti-disability discrimination statute. In Mississippi, employees are only protected from disability discrimination by public employers.  Private employers are not covered.Mississippi statutes reach only physical handicaps.Mississippi provides that an employee covered by the state personnel board may get an administrative remedy for discrimination, which can be reviewed (appealed) in a state court. Those employees and applicants covered by the statute prohibiting a state, municipal, or state-funded employer from discriminating based on physical handicap would appear to have an implied right of action in court for damages.
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Missouri

Missouri’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with six or more employees.  Missouri provides that an employer may not refuse to hire, fire, limit, or adversely affect an employee’s individual status because of a handicap.  Missouri defines protected "handicap" as "a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more … major life activities, or a condition perceived as such, which with or without reasonable accommodation does not interfere with performing the job."  Missouri recognizes that even if disability does not make a job physically impossible, as long as the disability jeopardizes safety it interferes with employee's ability to perform the job. While not explicit, Missouri implicitly seems to require that the employer provide reasonable accommodations for the employee. Missouri prohibits retaliation by employers against employees for making a claim of discrimination. An aggrieved individual may initiate an action by filing a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
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Montana

Montana’s anti-discrimination laws apply to all public and private employers regardless of the number of employees in the office.  An employer may not fail or refuse to hire, discharge, or discriminate against an employee because of a mental or physical disability. 

Like the "disability" definition under ADA Title I and the Rehabilitation Act, "physical or mental disability" under Montana law means (i) "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a person's major life activities, (ii) a record of such an impairment, or (iii) a condition regarded as such an impairment." Discrimination based on disability includes the failure to make reasonable accommodation. An aggrieved employee or applicant, to obtain full remedies, must file an administrative complaint within six months of the discrimination with the Montana Human Rights Commission.
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Nebraska

Nebraska’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private sector employers with fifteen or more employees.  In Nebraska, employers may not fail or refuse to hire or discriminate against someone based on a disability.   "Disability" includes "any physical or mental condition, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement which is caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness, including epilepsy or seizure disorder" and reliance on guide dogs as appliances, and shall include a condition that constitutes a substantial handicap, as determined by a physician if it is "unrelated to such person's ability to engage in a particular occupation." The Nebraska statute requires "reasonable accommodation" by the employer.  An aggrieved individual in Nebraska has 180 days within which to file a charge with the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission.
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Nevada

Nevada’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with fifteen or more employees. Employees and job applicants are both protected.  In Nevada, employers may not fail or refuse to hire or discriminate against someone based on a disability.  Nevada protects "physical, aural, or visual" handicaps, but does not define the term. An aggrieved individual in Nevada has 180 dayswithin which to initiate an administrative action claiming a violation of the Nevada statute with the Nevada Commission on Equal Rights.
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New Hampshire

New Hampshire anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with six or more employees. 

New Hampshire law provides that an employer may not "refuse to hire or employ … or to bar or to discharge … or to discriminate against" an employee or applicant because of "physical or mental handicap" unless "based upon a bona fide occupational qualification."  Physical or mental handicap is defined as a "handicap, other than illness, unrelated to a person's ability to perform a particular job or position … so long as the individual will not present a hazard to himself or other employees." New Hampshire requires that an employer provide "reasonable accommodation" to an applicant or employee that will permit them to effectively perform the job duties if it does not impose an undue burden on the employer. Retaliation by an employer against an individual who makes a discrimination claim is prohibited.  Aggrieved persons may initiate an administrative action by filing a complaint with the state Human Rights Commission within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
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New Jersey

New Jersey’s anti-discrimination laws apply to all private employers.  New Jersey law provides that an employer may not "refuse to hire or employ … or to bar or to discharge … or to discriminate against" an employee or applicant because of the individual's "atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait" or because "such person is or has been at any time handicapped … unless the nature and extent of the handicap reasonably precludes the performance of the particular employment."  Handicap is defined as suffering from "physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement … caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness including epilepsy …, speech impediment or physical reliance on a service or guide dog … or device"; or a "mental, psychological or developmental disability"; or a past handicap, unless the handicap reasonably precludes the particular employment.  HIV infection and related conditions are expressly included by a 1992 amendment.  The perception that one is handicapped is also covered. Alcoholism and substance dependency appear to be covered if proved. Multiple personality disorder is also covered.

New Jersey's statute does not provide a requirement for employers to provide any “reasonable accommodation.”

Aggrieved persons may initiate an administrative action by filing a complaint with the state Division on Civil Rights.
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New Mexico

New Mexico’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with four or more employees and protect both job applicants and employees.  New Mexico law provides that an employer may not "refuse to hire or employ … or to bar or to discharge … or to discriminate against" an employee or applicant because of "physical or mental handicap" or "medical condition" unless "based upon a bona fide occupational qualification."  Physical or mental handicap is defined as a "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more … major life activities," including employment; a record of such an impairment; or a perception as having such an impairment.

New Mexico, by adopting the federal Rehabilitation Act's definition of "handicap" and the Rehabilitation Act's definitions of "physical or mental impairment" and "major life activity," protects only those conditions that cause an actual impairment.

New Mexico requires that employers provide "reasonable accommodation" to employees or applicants with disabilities, unless providing such accommodation would result in "undue hardship" for the employer.

Aggrieved persons may initiate an administrative action by filing a complaint with the state Human Rights Commission within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
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New York

New York’s anti-discrimination laws apply to public and private employers with four or more employees, and protect both employees and job applicants.

New York provides that an employer may not "refuse to hire or employ or to bar or to discharge … or to discriminate against" an employee because of disability.  New York defines "disability" to include "(a) a physical, mental, or medical impairment resulting from anatomical, physiological, genetic or neurological conditions which prevents the exercise of a normal bodily function or is demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical or laboratory diagnostic techniques, or (b) a record of such an impairment, or (c) a condition regarded by others as such an impairment." New York protects disabilities that cause no demonstrable physical or mental impairment to a major life activity as long as they are an abnormal medically diagnosable condition.

An aggrieved individual in New York may seek damages and injunctive relief by filinga complaint in state court within one year of discrimination.
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North Carolina

North Carolina’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with 15 or more employees and protect both job applicants and employees.  North Carolina provides that an employer may not "fail to hire or consider for employment or promotion, to discharge or otherwise to discriminate against qualified handicapped person on the basis of a handicapping condition."  Person with a disability is defined as a "person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more … major life activities"; a person with a record of such an impairment; or a person perceived as having such an impairment. North Carolina requires reasonable accommodation if properly requested by a qualified handicapped employee, unless providing such accommodation would result in undue hardship for the employer. 

Aggrieved persons may initiate a court action by filing a complaint with the state superior court within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
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North Dakota

North Dakota’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private and public sector employers with one or more employees, and protect both job applicants and employees.  North Dakota provides that an employer may not "fail or refuse to hire…to discharge…or to accord adverse or unequal treatment to" an employee or applicant because of "physical or mental handicap" unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification "reasonably necessary to the normal operation of that particular business or enterprise."   North Dakota requires reasonable accommodation for an "otherwise qualified" handicapped employee unless providing such accommodation would unduly disrupt or interfere with the employer's operation, threaten health and safety, contradict a business necessity, or result in undue hardship for the employer. Aggrieved persons may initiate an action by filing a complaint in state court within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
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Ohio

Ohio’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with four full-time or part-time employees, and protect both job applicants and employees.  Ohio provides that an employer may not "refuse to hire" an employee or applicant because of a "handicap" unless "based upon a bona fide occupational qualification." Handicap is defined as a "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, including the functions of caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working; a record of a physical or mental impairment; or being regarded as having a physical or mental impairment." Ohio does require that employers provide reasonable accommodation to disabled applicants and employees, unless providing such accommodation would result in undue hardship for the employer. Aggrieved persons may initiate an administrative action by filing a complaint with the state Civil Rights Commission within six months of the alleged discrimination.
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Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers paying one or more individuals a salary or wages for work performance, and protect both job applicants and employees.  Oklahoma law makes it unlawful for an employer to "fail or refuse to hire, to discharge, or otherwise discriminate against … or … limit, segregate, or classify" employees or applicants because of genetic information or disability, unless “the employer can demonstrate that accommodation for the disability would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business of such employer,” or if the challenged employment action is related to a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business or enterprise, or based on bona fide seniority or merit system, or based on a professionally developed test.  The administrative guidelines make clear that Oklahoma's definition of protected "handicap" tracks the one adopted by the federal Rehabilitation Act. Thus, Oklahoma protects only those conditions causing an actual impairment. Reasonable accommodation does not appear to be required by the statute.  Aggrieved individuals have 180 days from date of discrimination within which to file a charge with the Oklahoma Human Rights Commission.
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Oregon

Oregon’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with six or more employees, and protect both job applicants and employees.  Oregon provides that it is “an unlawful employment practice for any employer to refuse to hire, employ or promote, to bar or discharge from employment or to discriminate in compensation or in terms, conditions or privileges of employment” because the individual is a “qualified individual” who has a disability.  “Disability” is defined as a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more … major life activities,” including bodily functions, employment, and renting or purchasing real estate (but excluding any ameliorative devices or drugs other than glasses or contacts when uncorrected vision is a business necessity for the job.)Disability is further defined as a record of such an impairment (including misclassification), or a perception as having a physical or mental impairment (whether or not the perception is of a substantially limiting condition but excluding minor conditions perceived to last six months or less).  An aggrieved person may seek an administrative remedy prior to going to court by filing a complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Bureau of Labor and Industries within 90 days of the discrimination.
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Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with four or more employees, and protect both job applicants and employees.  Pennsylvania law provides that an employer may not "refuse to hire or employ, or contract with, or to bar, or to discharge … or to otherwise discriminate against" an employee or applicant because of "non-job related handicap or disability." Non-job related handicap or disability is defined as "any handicap or disability which does not substantially interfere with the ability to perform the essential functions of the employment … [but] [u]ninsurability or increased insurance … does not render a handicap … job related."The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission's regulations track the federal ADA and Rehabilitation Act definition of "handicap," defining the term to include one who "has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a history of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.” Aggrieved persons may initiate an administrative action by filing a complaint with the state Human Relations Commission within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
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Rhode Island

Rhode Island’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with four or more employees, and protect both job applicants and employees

Rhode Island law provides that an employer may not "refuse to hire," "discharge … or to discriminate against" an employee or applicant because of "handicap."  Physical or mental handicap is defined as a "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more … major life activities" (including employment); a record of such an impairment; or the perception of having such an impairment. Rhode Island requires that employers provide reasonable accommodation to disabled employees or applicants unless providing such accommodation would result in undue hard ship for the employer. Aggrieved persons may initiate an administrative action by filing a complaint with the Commission for Human Rights within one year of the alleged discrimination.
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South Carolina

South Carolina’s anti-discrimination laws apply to public and private employers with 15 or more employees, and protect both job applicants and employees.  South Carolina provides that "[n]o person may discriminate against a handicapped person with respect to employment … without reasonable justification." South Carolina defines "handicapped person" to include those who have "a physical or mental impairment, whether congenital or acquired by accident, injury, or disease, where the impairment is verified by medical findings and appears reasonably certain to continue throughout the lifetime of the individual without substantial improvement, but with respect to employment, which is unrelated to the individual's ability to engage in a particular job or occupation." "Mental impairment” does not include mental illness. Handicap does not include substance abuse or a person only regarded as being handicapped. An aggrieved employee in South Carolina may file a complaint with the state Human Affairs Commission within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
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South Dakota

South Dakota’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with one or more employees, and protect both job applicants and employees.  South Dakota provides that an employer may not "refuse to hire or employ … or to bar or to discharge … or to accord adverse or unequal treatment to" an employee or applicant because of "disability" unless "based upon a bona fide occupational qualification." Disability is defined as "any determinable physical or mental characteristic or an individual or a history of the characteristic which may result from disease, injury, congenital condition of birth or functional disorder which … is unrelated to an individual's ability to perform the duties of a particular job or position, or is unrelated to an individual's qualifications for promotion." South Dakota requires that employers provide reasonable accommodation to disabled applicants and employees, unless providing such accommodation would result in undue hardship for the employer.  Aggrieved persons may initiate an administrative action by filing a complaint with the state Human Rights Commission within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
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Tennessee

Tennessee’s anti-discrimination laws apply to all private sector employers and all public sector employers, and protect both job applicants and employees.Tennessee provides that a public employer may not discriminate in the "hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment … based solely upon any physical, mental, or visual handicap unless such handicap to some degree prevents the applicant from performing the duties required by the employment sought or impairs the performance of the work involved." Handicap is not defined per se, and the legislature recently repealed a provision excluding from protection those with "diseases that are infectious, contagious, or similarly transmissible to other persons" Recent case law adopted from another state statute adopted the federal Rehabilitation Act definition protecting "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, a record of having such impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment."  Aggrieved persons may initiate an administrative action by filing a complaint with the state Human Rights Commission within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
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Texas

Texas anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with 15 or more employees. Protected persons include employees and job applicants, elected officials and their staff, policymaking appointees, and advisers to the foregoing..  Texas provides that it is unlawful when the employer "fails or refuses to hire…or discharges…or discriminates in any other manner," or "limits, segregates, or classifies an employee or applicant" because of a "disability."  Texas law protects only those who are a "qualified individual with a disability," meaning the employee must prove (1) that they can perform all of the essential job functions of the position without modification or (2) that some reasonable accommodation would enable them to perform the job.  Disability means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity, or a record of such impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment; it does not include one addicted to alcohol or drugs, or one whose currently communicable disease threatens safety or prevents job performance.  Aggrieved persons may initiate an administrative action by filing a complaint with the state Human Rights Commission within 180 days of the alleged discrimination.
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Utah

Utah’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with fifteen or more employees, and protect both job applicants and employees.  Utah law provides that an employer may not “refuse to hire or promote, or to discharge, demote, terminate … harass or discriminate … against any person otherwise qualified, because of … disability.”  Utah defines “disability” to include “a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of a person's major life activities.”

An aggrieved individual may initiate an administrative action by filing within 180 days of discrimination a complaint with the Industrial Commission.
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Vermont

Vermont’s anti-discrimination laws apply to private employers with one or more in-state employees, and protect both job applicants and employees.  Vermont provides that an employer may not "require persons of a particular … physical or mental condition," or to "discriminate against a qualified handicapped individual." A qualified handicapped individual protected from discrimination is one who "is capable of performing the essential functions of the job or jobs for which he is being considered [sic] with reasonable accommodation." Vermont defines "handicapped individual" to include one with "a physical or mental impairment [including, inter alia, cosmetic disfigurement, learning disabilities, mental retardation, and substance abuse] which substantially limits one or more major life activities"; (b) a "history or record of such an impairment or (c) [a condition] regarded as … such an impairment." Vermont requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation in duties performance, job structure and architectural barriers to disabled employees and applicants, provided it does not impose undue hardship on the employer given accommodation cost and employer size and operations.  An aggrieved individual in Vermont may seek damages and injunctive relief by filing a complaint in superior court. The statute of limitations is three years for emotional distress claims, but six years for economic loss claims.
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Virginia

Virginia’s anti-discrimination laws apply to employers with more than five but less than 15 employees, these represent employers that are not already covered by the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  Virginia provides that an employer may not "discriminate in employment or promotion practices against an otherwise qualified person with a disability solely because of such disability." A qualified person with a disability means a "person with a disability … qualified to perform the duties of a particular job or position." Virginia requires that employers provide reasonable accommodation for the known physical and mental impairments of an otherwise qualified person with a disability, if necessary to assist such person in the performance of a particular job, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue burden on the employer "in light of hardship on the employer's business, size of facility, nature and cost of accommodation, possible use by others, and potential safety hazard."  Aggrieved persons may initiate a court action by filing a complaint with the state circuit court within one year of the alleged discrimination.
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Washington

In order to have a claim under Washington’s anti-discrimination law, the employer must employ at least 8 other employees.  This state does not allow an employer to refuse to hire, terminate, and discriminate in a promotion or compensation because of a handicap.  A handicapped individual can have a sensory, mental, or physical handicap.  Substance abuse is not a handicap and employers are prohibited from discriminating against an individual based on an HIV infection.  An aggrieved individual must file a claim with the state Labor and Industrial Review Commission within six months of the alleged discrimination.
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West Virginia

In order to have a claim under West Virginia’s antidiscrimination law, the employer must employ at least 12 other employees.  This state does not allow an employer to discriminate with respect to compensation, hire, tenure, term, conditions or privileges of employment if the individual is competent and able to perform his or her duties.  A handicapped individual under this statute is someone who suffers from a physical or mental impairment which makes their success at the job unusually difficult or limits the capacity to work.  A handicap that does not impose a significant limitation is not protected.  Employers must reasonably accommodate employees with disabilities unless it imposes an undue hardship on the employer.  An aggrieved individual must file a claim with the Human Rights Commission within 365 days of the alleged discrimination.
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Wisconsin

In order to have a claim under Wisconsin’s anti-discrimination law, the employer must employ at least 1 other employee.  Wisconsin does not allow an employer to refuse to hire, terminate, and discriminate in a promotion or compensation because of a handicap unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification.  A handicapped individual under this statute is someone who suffers from a physical or mental impairment which makes their success at the job unusually difficult or limits the capacity to work.  Wisconsin protects medical conditions that causes impairment and requires that the employer reasonably accommodate a disabled employee.  Discrimination is not prohibited if the disability is reasonably related to the ability to undertake the job-related responsibilities.  An aggrieved individual must file a claim with the state Labor and Industrial Review Commission within 300 days of the alleged discrimination.
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Wyoming

Wyoming prevents discrimination by private employers that employ more than 2 employees.  Under the state statute, an employer may not refuse to hire, discharge, promote, demote, or discriminate against a qualified handicapped person unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification.  Someone who is considered a qualified handicapped person under this state law is someone who is capable of performing the job with reasonable accommodation for their handicap.  The Wyoming statute does not appear to prevent an employer from asking questions or testing a person’s physical or mental capacity or limitations. Wyoming requires that an employer provide reasonable accommodation for an employee’s disability unless providing such accommodation would result in undue hardship for the employer.  Retaliation by employers against applicants or employees who request accommodations or make discrimination claims is prohibited.  An aggrieved person may file a claim with the Human Rights Commission within 90 days of the alleged discrimination.
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