ADA protects against Ebola-related discrimination

In today's interconnected world, people can travel from one end of the Earth to the other in just a matter of days. While this brings cultures and people closer together, it also helps to spread disease that would otherwise be isolated to one part of the world. With the recent spread of Ebola to the United States, some people have been experiencing discrimination.

Ebola is a serious virus originating in West Africa. It causes a variety of symptoms including fever, diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting and muscle pain. It can, in some cases, be deadly.

With the increased media attention on the disease, some people are starting to experience discrimination. These people include aid workers, medical professionals and everyday people who have come in contact with the virus. In some cases, people of African descent have also experienced Ebola-related discrimination. Some stories have included being banned from schools or from travel out of fear of spreading the disease even when the individuals have no symptoms of the virus.

However, experts say that this discrimination is illegal. In particular, when it comes to the workplace, the Americans with Disabilities Act protects Louisiana citizens against discrimination at work because of a medical condition. In fact, the ADA protects against discrimination even for imagined medical conditions. This means that people can still be protected against discrimination even when they do not have any symptoms of the disease. Even discrimination based on the perception of the disease is not allowed.

The ADA extends far beyond Ebola concerns. Louisiana citizens who have faced discrimination at work because of a medical condition should know that they have legal rights.

Source: The Dallas Weekly, "Law in the Time of Ebola," Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, Nov. 14, 2014