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When ‘simple requests’ become disability discrimination

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2017 | Discrimination |

Michael Trimble’s employer had a so-called simple request: Please carry your bicycle up the back stairs instead of bringing it through the main lobby of the corporate office building.

When he said he couldn’t do that, his employer tried a different request: Please push your bike across the landscaped pavilion in front of the building instead of riding across it at full speed.

Again, Trimble replied that he couldn’t comply. Why? Because he doesn’t have any arms.


Trimble’s specially designed bike is his primary mode of transportation, since his missing arms make it impossible for him to drive a regular vehicle. However, his Oregon employer claimed that if Trimble couldn’t be trusted to comply with simple requests about his bicycle, how could he be trusted to carry out more complex instructions related to his job?

Trimble, on the other hand, claims that the company violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). According to the Washington Post, he is suing for wrongful termination.

Your Rights Under The Americans With Disabilities Act

According to the Department of Labor, Title I of the ADA prohibits companies with 15 or more employees from discriminating against workers with disabilities. This means that, among other things, employers must:

  • Treat job applicants with disabilities the same as they treat job applicants without disabilities, when it comes to hiring practices
  • Provide equal opportunities for employees with or without disabilities, when it comes to promotions, training opportunities and benefits
  • Provide reasonable accommodations to allow individuals with disabilities to work, as long as the necessary accommodations don’t cause undue hardship to the company

When employers refuse to comply with the ADA and unlawfully discriminate against job applicants or employees with disabling conditions, the workers in question may file lawsuits and seek compensation.

If you find yourself in this situation – facing discrimination, retaliation or wrongful termination – don’t hesitate to consult an employment law attorney who can explain your rights in detail and diligently advocate for the justice you deserve.