Some people refer to autism as being “on the spectrum.” This phrase refers to the fact that autism presents itself in different ways in different people and has varying degrees of severity. As a result, many individuals with autism spectrum disorder can live out their daily lives with their condition affecting them in minimal ways, such as social awkwardness, or in more significant ways but ones that they can handle as they see fit. Unfortunately, some Washington, D.C. workers could face discrimination in the workplace due to their disability.
If autistic individuals are not hired for a job they are qualified for, or are denied reasonable accommodations in the workplace, they may be facing disability discrimination. This type of discrimination, like most others, is illegal, and employers who treat autistic workers unfairly need to be held accountable. Though a worker may have communication difficulties or not interact socially in the same manner as other workers, there are often reasonable accommodations that could help the worker perform his or her work duties as needed.
If an autistic worker believes that he or she is being treated unfairly in the workplace, considering the following steps may be useful:
- Discussing the issue with the employer, supervisor or other party who is carrying out the discriminatory behavior, including identifying potential workplace accommodations
- Filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Obtaining information on potential legal action
In some cases, supervisors or coworkers may not realize that they are acting in a discriminatory way. However, if an autistic worker brings this to the person’s attention and the mistreatment continues, moving forward with complaints and other action may be necessary. If speaking with a supervisor or employer does not lead to appropriate action, speaking about the discrimination with experienced employment law attorneys in the Washington, D.C. area may be useful.