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Disability Discrimination

State and federal laws prohibit discrimination against the disabled. Some offenders are willing to make reasonable accommodations when they are told about the laws. Often, however, disabled Americans encounter stubborn businesses and individuals who refuse to adopt reasonable accommodations. In these cases, litigation is the only way to enforce your rights. The Egan Legal Team is especially interested in helping those with service animals who have been refused by public accommodations (restaurants, theaters, etc.).

Read more about our service animal cases »

The two most common laws used in our lawsuits are the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 659A of the Oregon Revised Statutes.



The Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (or "ADA") prohibits discrimination against any "qualified individual with a disability." The text of the ADA can be found by clicking here.

The ADA protects three categories of people with disabilities:

    The first category is the most obvious. It includes any condition involving a "physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual." "Major life activities" including walking, talking, seeing and hearing. This category would include apparent disabilities such as blindness, deafness, paraplegia and mental illness.
    The second category covers persons who may no longer be disabled, but who have had a "record of impairment." Recovered victims of cancer, for example, often report discrimination from their employers. The ADA prohibits that sort of discrimination.
    The third category covers people who are not actually disabled, but who are "perceived" to be so. This category includes persons with conditions that do not impair "major life activities," but which tend to stigmatize such people. One example might be a person who suffers from alopecia universalis (complete hair loss). While not a disability in its own right, an employer might discriminate against such an individual on the unfounded belief that the condition indicates cancer. The ADA also prohibits discrimination against persons with AIDS and certain other contagious diseases, unless the disease poses a threat to other employees or the public.
The ADA also protects people who are known to have a relationship or association with a disabled person (such as a spouse or child).

For those who qualify for ADA protection, there are several areas in which discrimination is prohibited:
    Employment
    Government services
    Access to public accommodations
    Transportation
    Commercial facilities
If you believe that you have been discriminated against in one of these areas because of a disability, contact our office to learn about your options.


Oregon Disability Discrimination Laws

Oregon Revised Statute section 659A also prohibits discrimination in many of the same ways as the ADA. Where the ADA allows only for an injunction and attorney fees, Oregon Revised Statute section 659A allows victims of disability discrimination to recover compensation in the form of damages, as well as punitive damages to punish the discriminating business. When we file a lawsuit, we generally allege violations of both the ADA and Oregon discrimination statutes.

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