Employment Discrimination: Your Rights as an Employee with a Disability

Fact sheet

Disability discrimination occurs, among other times, when an employer treats a qualified individual with a disability who is an employee or applicant adversely because he/she has a disability. The law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or job applicant with a disability, unless doing so would cause significant difficulty or expense for the employer (“undue hardship”). You may contact our office for additional information about asking for reasonable accommodations.

[The law also protects people from discrimination based on their relationship with a person with a disability (even if they do not themselves have a disability); for example, it is illegal to discriminate against an employee because the employee’s parent or child has disability.]

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities. The ADA covers private employers with 15 or more employees and also state and local government employers. In South Carolina, employers are also subject to the South Carolina Human Affairs Law, which provides employees and job applicants with disabilities protections substantially the same as those under the ADA.

[Employees of, and applicants for jobs with, federal agencies and programs, recipients of federal assistance, and federal contractors may be protected by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The procedures for seeking remedies under the Rehabilitation Act are different from those under the ADA. You may contact our office for further information about how to protect your rights.]

If you are an applicant or employee of a covered employer under the ADA, you may file a charge with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC). The time limit for filing a charge discrimination with SCHAC is 180 days, but because SCHAC is a Fair Employment Practices Agency and has a work-sharing agreement with the EEOC, you may file a charge with either SCHAC or the EEOC within 300 days after the most recent date of discrimination.

Your charge with either administrative agency (SCHAC or the EEOC) may be resolved in your favor. If it is not, you may be given a Notice of Right to Sue in civil court. Before filing a lawsuit under the ADA, you must first exhaust your administrative remedies; that is, you should first file your charge with SCHAC or with the EEOC before filing a civil lawsuit under the ADA.

If you believe your employer has discriminated against you based on your disability, please contact SCHAC or the EEOC. Contact information is set out below. You may discuss your concerns with either agency, set up an interview, and learn how to file a charge. The EEOC now has an online public portal for asking questions, making an appointment and filing a charge.

For further assistance, you may also wish to contact a private attorney. For help finding a private attorney, call the Lawyer Referral Service of the South Carolina Bar (1-800-868-2284).

South Carolina Human Affairs Commission
1026 Sumter Street Suite 101
Columbia, SC 29201
1-800-521-0725 (voice)
1-803-253-4125 (TDD)

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
131 M Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
1-800-669-4000 (voice)
1-800-663-4994 (TTY)
1-844-234-5122 (ASL video phone)

Greenville Local EEOC Office
301 N. Main Street, Suite 1402
Greenville, SC 29601
1-800-669-4000 (voice)
1-864-241-4400 (voice)
1-800-669-6820 (TTY)

Disability Rights South Carolina is the Protection and Advocacy System for South Carolina. This publication provides legal information but is not intended to be legal advice. As the law may change, please contact Disability Rights South Carolina for updates. Please let us know if you would like this information in an alternative format.

Last updated: 2023

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