We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Disability Harassment?

By Tara Barnett
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
MyLawQuestions is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At MyLawQuestions, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Disability harassment is any form of speech or action that draws undue attention to a disability, either mental or physical. Harassment of the disabled is usually considered a different problem than discrimination against the disabled, although both are serious crimes. In the workplace, disability harassment is usually dealt with in a way that is similar to other forms of harassment and can result in legal action. Given the personal nature of harassment and differing comfort levels, it can be difficult to precisely delineate what constitutes disability harassment and what does not.

Typically, it is understood that disability harassment is behavior that points out a disability in a negative way. Making fun of someone on the basis of his or her disability, for instance, is a very clear example of harassment. Less obvious but equally serious harassment might include being patronizing, asking embarrassing questions, or focusing conversation on the disability. The problem with this definition of disability harassment is that the behaviors in question are often subtle and harassers may not know that they are making the disabled person uncomfortable. Likewise, a person who is mentally disabled may not know that he or she is being patronized or made fun of.

In order for a behavior to be considered harassment, the person who is the subject of the behaviors must usually object to the treatment. Many friendships involve joking about otherwise taboo subjects, which might include disabilities, race, or other protected classes. Also, people who are disabled might object to one form of harassment but not another. Typically, it is very difficult to prosecute someone for disability harassment unless the person who has acted in a harassing manner has been asked to stop the behavior.

It is important to recognize that there is a difference between harassment and discrimination. Problems like being unable to access a building or being passed over for a promotion due to one's disability are better considered discrimination. While both crimes are serious, harassment implies a sort of menace that need not necessarily be present in discrimination, as discrimination problems are usually due to lack of consideration or resources.

When disability harassment occurs, it is important to first follow any rules regarding the incident that relate to the place where it occurred. For instance, if the incident occurs at work or school, then taking the appropriate steps within the company or institution is typically advisable. If that is not an option, seeking the help of a lawyer is likely the best way to get justice after suffering harassment.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon998371 — On May 26, 2017

@349945: Your post is rather vague on details of course, but you, as a natural person, absolutely have rights. You are do not have to bow down to any doctord. No matter what services they have preformed on your behalf, that is what they are paid to do. And those services always remain confidential. It "sounds like" you are suffering, in a small place, where everyone may be known to one another. I don't know in what way doctors are "making decisions for you" but legal counsel sounds as if it is absolutely warranted on your behalf. Money should not be of any concern at this point. All that matters is that your rights are not being infringed upon, or taken away from you in any capacity. And if so, said doctor, and any associates protecting him, should all immediately be reported to the board of medicine for swift investigation.

Please, do not go on suffering while these people enjoy all life has to offer. Get up, get out and stand up for yourself. Where there is need, there are always provisions. Please, reach out for help.

By anon990914 — On May 15, 2015

My wife wears a prosthesis on her right lower arm. I cannot tell you how many times people have asked her if she plays Captain Hook on Halloween or other stupid comments like, "How do you drive or eat" and " I bet that works great as pliers or a hammer". People constantly stare at her and generally make her feel extremely uncomfortable, The worst though is when people make the Captain Hook references thinking they are being funny or clever. Grow up, people! Learn some manners. After all, how would you feel if people made fun of your bald heads, fat bottoms, beer bellies, wrinkles, height, or complexions? Here is a great rule for the future: Think before opening your mouth! Sorry to those of you who sympathize. I am just so tired of seeing my beautiful wife made to feel less than human by ignorant jerks.

By anon970167 — On Sep 16, 2014

Even though I am a disabled woman, my entire family harassed me. My husband, my mother and entire family members harassed me. They are erratic people. They did not support me financially.

By anon357909 — On Dec 08, 2013

I am a disabled service connected veteran. I went to China to live for four years because it took that long to settle my case. I could not work and could not afford to live in the country I served and protected. While in China, I met and married a wonderful woman. I did not lose an arm or leg. My back was crushed and I have metal rods and screws holding me together so that I can stand and walk.

My problem lies solely with my family. I constantly hear from them what a piece of crap that I am. They can not see my injuries and always have something to say about me working the system and too lazy to work. Now they are attacking my wife and daughter because they are from China.

Makes me question every day what exactly I was fighting for when I was injured

By anon349945 — On Sep 30, 2013

I feel like I have been harassed by a surgeon. Even if he meant well, he made my life difficult. I never asked him to intrude into my life, but he took it upon himself to control my life. I felt that he has made a negative impact on my life. I feel like a loser and have not accomplished any of my goals because he cared about me.

I never asked him to care about me in any way, but he had to butt into my business. I don't even know these men and they pry into my life and ruined my life financially. I will never get the money that I could have made. I don't understand why work establishments don't take action on those who have been harassed.

I am bitter and angry that they had to play the role of having my best interests at heart. I never asked them! I can imagine they have discriminated against me in many ways. I don't understand how they can do that to me. I never thought that professionals would put me on a roller coaster ride. I feel that, for some reason, I cannot get rid of this one surgeon out of my life. I hear him sometimes at night riding his motorcycle.

I wonder if he and others will let me have peace in my life. I feel like I don't have a choice of meeting someone I would like to have in my life. I often see one of his friends at places that I go to. I saw one person that I know he knows and I would see him with his girlfriend at the park where I used to go to walk.

Frankly, I feel it is a little of both: harassment and taking my rights away by discriminating against me. I feel that I am always being discriminated because of my brain injury and for a doctor to take it upon himself to make decisions for me is not right. They are taking my rights away and I have been struggling because of him caring. I never asked him for his concern, and then another came along and did the same thing to me.

Between them both, they have had me on a roller coaster ride. They have cost me a financial burden and I will not get any money back because of them. I want him to leave me alone forever!

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.