Top Arkansas Disability Discrimination Lawyers

Facing disability discrimination is challenging, but you don’t have to confront it alone. A disability discrimination lawyer will immediately evaluate your case, advise on your rights, and lay out your legal options. This article goes straight to the heart of how these professionals protect your interests against injustice and discrimination, providing you with a road map to securing the best representation for your unique situation.

Key Takeaways

  • Disability discrimination laws, like the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, protect individuals with disabilities by ensuring equal opportunity and requiring reasonable accommodations in employment and public services.
  • Disability discrimination lawyers provide essential legal representation, guiding clients through filing complaints, negotiating settlements, and litigation, ensuring their rights are protected under discrimination laws.
  • When choosing a disability discrimination lawyer, it’s crucial to consider their experience, communication skills, and track record to ensure effective advocacy and a strong lawyer-client relationship.

Understanding Disability Discrimination Laws

Disability discrimination laws exist to ensure that individuals with disabilities are treated fairly and equally in our society. These laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, are federal laws that prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities. They ensure equal opportunity and protect disabled workers from:

These laws, enacted by state and local governments, are crucial in promoting inclusivity and ensuring that individuals with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else.

But who is considered a person with a disability? This term refers to an individual who:

  • has a physical or mental impairment that significantly restricts a major life activity
  • has a history of such impairment
  • is perceived to have such an impairment

These laws also require reasonable accommodations such as modifications to usual work duties or employment benefits to assist a person with a disability in their job application or performance, ensuring that reasonable accommodation is provided.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. It ensures equal opportunities in:

  • Employment
  • State and local government
  • Public accommodations
  • Commercial facilities
  • Transportation
  • Telecommunications

In the workplace, the ADA protects qualified individuals from employment discrimination, making it unlawful for covered entities to discriminate in various employment practices.

But what qualifies a person as disabled under the ADA? According to the ADA, a person with a disability is defined as someone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. This can also include a history or record of such an impairment, or being perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA also requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees with disabilities to perform essential job functions, unless doing so would cause undue hardship.

The Rehabilitation Act

The Rehabilitation Act aims to prevent disability discrimination in federal programs and employment under the federal government. It ensures that individuals with disabilities have equal access to federal employment and programs that receives federal financial assistance. The rehabilitation act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in federal agencies, as a federal agency is required by Section 501, must actively pursue affirmative action and nondiscrimination in employment, with set representation goals for individuals with disabilities. In addition, federal contract compliance programs play a crucial role in ensuring adherence to these regulations.

Disability discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act is determined using the same standards as in Title I of the ADA. ‘Qualified individuals with disabilities’ are defined as those satisfying job requirements and capable of performing essential job functions with or without accommodations. Section 504 sets forth common federal regulations, requiring reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities and mandating accessibility in construction and alterations of facilities.

The Role of a Disability Discrimination Lawyer

A disability discrimination lawyer plays a crucial role in protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities. These attorneys offer comprehensive legal representation which includes:

  • Conducting investigations
  • Representing clients in court proceedings
  • Managing all necessary legal documentation and arguments
  • Assisting clients in filing administrative complaints with appropriate government agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or state human rights commissions.

One of the key roles of a disability discrimination lawyer is:

  • negotiating settlements to achieve favorable outcomes without the need for trial
  • providing valuable legal advice and counseling
  • guiding clients through complex processes and helping them make well-informed decisions
  • providing regular updates and clear explanations of legal procedures

These actions foster a collaborative and trusting relationship between the attorney and the client.

Evaluating Your Case

A disability discrimination lawyer evaluates the merits of a case through assessments of evidence, past legal precedents, and by providing relevant examples of disability discrimination to develop a compelling legal argument. Legal options are discussed with the client, including the decision of whether to pursue a private lawsuit or file a claim with a government agency like the Department of Labor.

A financial evaluation of the claim includes a cost-benefit analysis, understanding the potential compensation, assessing the strength of the case, and considering the client’s immediate and long-term financial goals. Clear and effective communication is crucial between the lawyer and client to ensure there is a mutual understanding of the case details, the client’s needs, and the proposed legal strategies.

Disability Discrimination and the EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) plays a crucial role in handling disability discrimination complaints. When a person believes they have been discriminated against because of their disability, they can file a complaint with the EEOC. A disability discrimination lawyer can assist clients in filing these claims and navigating the process.

The EEOC enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, transgender status, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. These laws also prohibit employers from retaliating against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Negotiating Settlements

Negotiating settlements is a key aspect of a lawyer’s role. Disability discrimination lawyers engage in negotiations with employers and their legal representatives, strategically preparing documentation to support claims and reviewing terms to ensure settlements are fair and in the client’s best interests.

Preparing for negotiations involves:

  • Establishing a minimum acceptable settlement
  • Being ready to make the first offer
  • Demonstrating the value of the case to the employer through counter-offers and potentially a schedule of loss

Effective settlements may include non-monetary terms such as apologies or policy changes, and usually have confidentiality clauses. Legal advice is often covered by employers for the validity of the agreements.

The negotiation process typically involves several steps, including:

  1. Starting with a demand letter
  2. Engaging in back-and-forth communication
  3. Utilizing services like Acas conciliation to help convey offers and facilitate dialogue

This process can take several months to reach a resolution.

Litigation and Trial

If negotiations do not lead to a satisfactory resolution, disability discrimination lawyers transition the case to litigation in court. Lawyers prepare for trial by formulating a legal strategy, selecting an appropriate jury, and reviewing evidence and witness testimony.

During the trial, attorneys’ responsibilities include presenting evidence, cross-examining witnesses, and refuting contrary statements to protect their client’s interests. Following a trial, disability discrimination lawyers may engage in post-trial motions or appeals to ensure the delivery of justice for their clients. An attorney’s deep understanding of disability discrimination law is vital for effective case management and achieving favorable outcomes.

How to Choose the Right Disability Discrimination Lawyer

Choosing the right disability discrimination lawyer is a crucial decision that can significantly influence the outcome of your case. Assessing the experience, communication skills, and fee structure of a disability discrimination lawyer is vital for selecting the right advocate for your case.

Researching a lawyer’s track record through trusted recommendations and reviewing testimonials helps gauge their reputation and effectiveness in similar disability discrimination cases. Scheduling a consultation with a potential lawyer allows you to directly evaluate their understanding of disability law and discuss their proposed approach to handling your case.

Experience and Expertise

An attorney’s proven experience in handling disability discrimination cases is critical to the potential for a successful outcome. Assessing a lawyer’s track record by reviewing the number of disability discrimination cases they have handled, along with the outcomes of those cases, is pivotal to understanding their expertise.

Specialized legal certifications and membership in professional organizations focused on disability rights can indicate a lawyer’s dedication and expertise in this area.

Communication and Rapport

Effective communication and rapport between the lawyer and client are essential for a strong attorney-client relationship. A strong attorney-client relationship empowers clients to share personal case details more comfortably, which is critical for the lawyer’s effective advocacy.

Effective listening and responsive communication by a lawyer are key factors for establishing a solid attorney-client relationship. A lawyer’s approachability and demeanor, observed during initial consultations, are indicative of their ability to maintain a positive rapport throughout the case.

Law firms can foster a culture of trust essential for client-attorney communication by encouraging self-identification among their staff. Empathy training for law firm personnel enhances their capacity to understand and empathize with clients, improving overall client interaction.

Personalized gestures, such as sending thank you letters to clients after engagement, contribute to strengthening the attorney-client relationship.

Real-Life Examples of Disability Discrimination Cases

Real-life disability discrimination cases offer valuable insights into the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities and demonstrate the impact of legal advocacy. For instance, in 2016, a woman with dyslexia successfully contested a disability discrimination claim against Starbucks, underscoring the need for proper procedures and understanding from employers.

In another case, a Walmart employee with Down Syndrome, who was terminated due to attendance issues after her employer failed to accommodate her need for a consistent schedule, underscores the consequences of inadequate workplace accommodations. These cases exemplify the importance of hiring a knowledgeable disability discrimination lawyer who can navigate the complexities of the law and advocate for justice and reasonable accommodations.

Employment Discrimination

Employment discrimination based on disability can take many forms, including wrongful termination, failure to provide reasonable adjustments, failure to hire, harassment, or being subject to adverse employment decisions due to one’s disability status. A Starbucks employee with dyslexia won a discrimination case after being fired for making mistakes due to her condition. Similarly, Ranew’s Management Company paid $250,000 for terminating an employee with depression after a medical leave, and TrueBlue, Inc. with PeopleReady, Inc. settled for $125,000 after terminating an employee with a psychiatric condition post-medical clearance.

Several other companies reached settlements due to disability discrimination:

  • Hollingsworth Richards, LLC ($100,000)
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, Inc. ($130,000)
  • Lonza America LLC ($150,000)
  • Party City Corporation ($155,000)

These settlements were for scenarios involving failure to accommodate disabilities or wrongful terminations relating to disability. To prove discrimination, it must be established that the client is part of a protected class and was qualified for their job. However, despite being capable, they suffered an adverse employment action strictly due to discrimination.

Tips for Working with Your Disability Discrimination Lawyer

Working effectively with a disability discrimination lawyer involves several key steps. Organize all relevant medical records, work documents, and communications related to the disability or discrimination to aid your lawyer in building a strong case. Ensure regular updates and meetings with your lawyer to stay informed on the progress of your case and to provide timely information.

Share your long-term goals and personal circumstances with your lawyer to align on the desired outcomes from your case. Be honest and transparent about all aspects of your case to avoid surprises that could hinder your chances of success. It’s also important to ask questions to understand the legal strategy, including potential risks and benefits, to ensure it aligns with your objectives.

Gathering Documentation

Documenting incidents of disability discrimination is crucial, even if legal action is not immediately intended, as it helps in reviewing the situation and brainstorming ways to prevent future discrimination. For documenting discrimination, it is recommended to keep notes using a method that integrates easily into one’s lifestyle, such as a journal, calendar, computer file, or mobile device, and to maintain a written record as it serves as compelling evidence.

Essential details to document include:

  • The time, date, and location of the incident
  • The names and roles of people involved
  • Witness accounts
  • A specific description of what happened, including direct quotes if possible

Keeping copies of all relevant written documents, such as emails, is important. It is advised to print emails from work in case of losing access to the work email account. Personnel files should be inspected, and individuals have the right to add rebuttal information if they disagree with the contents.

Recording intake interviews where legally permissible can provide several benefits, including:

  • Safeguarding against lost documents
  • Allowing for performance evaluation and post-mortem assessments on claims
  • Conducting a ‘head-to-toe’ assessment at the end of intake interviews to uncover additional health issues that could strengthen the disability claim
  • Enabling an attorney to help in gathering evidence and documentation.

Communication and Collaboration

Building rapport with clients by being sensitive and empathetic during intakes can lead to more successful client relationships and case outcomes. Treating each disability claimant as an individual with unique needs and concerns is a cornerstone of improving the attorney-client relationship in disability cases.

Ensuring uninterrupted and attentive communication during intake interviews demonstrates the firm’s commitment to the client’s case and individual circumstances. In disability cases, it is critical to engage with clients as partners, making it clear from the beginning what is expected from both sides for a successful collaboration.

Preparing for Potential Outcomes

Preparing for potential outcomes involves understanding the legal process, setting realistic expectations, and discussing potential settlement offers. Understand the potential duration and complexity of the legal process to set realistic expectations about case resolution.

Prepare emotionally and financially for a court case, should it be necessary, by discussing the potential costs and emotional toll with your lawyer. Discuss potential settlement offers with your lawyer, including the terms and whether they meet your long-term needs and goals.


Understanding disability discrimination laws and the role of a disability discrimination lawyer is crucial for individuals with disabilities. These laws offer protection and equal opportunities in various spheres of life, including employment. A competent lawyer can help navigate these complex laws, advocate for justice, and achieve favorable outcomes. However, selecting the right lawyer requires assessing their experience, communication skills, and fee structure. Real-life examples of disability discrimination cases illustrate the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, and how legal advocacy can pave the way for justice. Working effectively with a lawyer involves gathering relevant documentation, maintaining open communication, and preparing for potential outcomes.

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You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers.

Here are some answers to some of the most popular questions regarding disability discrimination

  • What is the role of a disability discrimination lawyer?

    A disability discrimination lawyer plays a vital role in providing legal representation, filing complaints, negotiating settlements, offering advice, and guiding clients through legal processes. They help ensure individuals with disabilities are treated fairly in the workplace.
  • What are the primary federal laws that protect individuals with disabilities?

    The primary federal laws that protect individuals with disabilities are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act. These laws ensure equal opportunities and protection from discrimination for individuals with disabilities.
  • How can we solve discrimination against disabled people?

    To solve discrimination against disabled people, companies should follow the requirements set by the law, including providing reasonable accommodations and removing barriers to make sure disabled people can take an active part in working life. This can include making the workplace and the way they work accessible to as many people as possible.
  • Which of the following federal law protects under disability discrimination?

    The federal laws that protect against disability discrimination include the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the ADA, and Section 504, which all prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities in various areas, including employment and public services. These laws ensure that qualified individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination.
  • What is an example of disability discrimination?

    An example of disability discrimination is when someone harasses or makes jokes about a person's disability, which is illegal and unacceptable. Helping someone else take legal action because of discrimination can also result in victimization.
  • What is the role of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in discrimination cases?

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency responsible for enforcing federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. The EEOC has several roles in discrimination cases, including:
    1. Investigating complaints: The EEOC receives and investigates complaints of discrimination in employment. If the EEOC finds that discrimination may have occurred, it may attempt to resolve the complaint through mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution.
    2. Filing lawsuits: If the EEOC is unable to resolve a complaint through alternative dispute resolution, it may file a lawsuit on behalf of the complainant. The EEOC has the authority to file lawsuits in federal court to enforce federal anti-discrimination laws.
    3. Providing guidance: The EEOC provides guidance to employers and employees on the requirements of federal anti-discrimination laws. This guidance may include best practices for preventing discrimination in the workplace and ways to address complaints of discrimination.
    4. Conducting outreach and education: The EEOC conducts outreach and education programs to promote understanding of federal anti-discrimination laws and how they apply to the workplace.
    5. Enforcing anti-retaliation provisions: The EEOC enforces anti-retaliation provisions that protect employees who report discrimination or participate in investigations or lawsuits related to discrimination.
    The role of the EEOC may vary depending on the particular facts and circumstances of a discrimination case. A discrimination lawyer can help you understand how the EEOC may be involved in your particular case and advise you on the best course of action to take.
  • Can I be fired or retaliated against for reporting discrimination or harassment?

    No, it is illegal for an employer to fire or retaliate against an employee for reporting discrimination or harassment. This protection applies to employees who make internal complaints to their employer, as well as to those who file complaints with government agencies or participate in investigations or lawsuits related to discrimination or harassment. Here are some examples of the types of retaliation that are prohibited by law:
    1. Termination or demotion: An employer cannot fire or demote an employee because they reported discrimination or harassment.
    2. Reduction in pay or hours: An employer cannot reduce an employee's pay or hours because they reported discrimination or harassment.
    3. Harassment or intimidation: An employer cannot harass or intimidate an employee because they reported discrimination or harassment.
    4. Negative job references: An employer cannot give a negative job reference to an employee because they reported discrimination or harassment.
    5. Unfair discipline: An employer cannot unfairly discipline an employee because they reported discrimination or harassment.
    If you believe that you have been retaliated against for reporting discrimination or harassment, you may be able to file a complaint or lawsuit to seek relief. A discrimination lawyer can help you understand your legal rights, determine if you have a valid claim, and advise you on the best course of action to take.
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