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California Employment Law: Disability Discrimination

California Disability Discrimination

Disability Discrimination in The Workplace

California state and federal laws prohibit workplace discrimination against disabled employees. California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) require that all employers provide “reasonable accommodations” to disabled employees. A disability can be either physical and or mental disability. As such, if an employer knows of an employee’s disability, they have an affirmative duty to make reasonable accommodations for the disability.

What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

A reasonable accommodation is assistance or changes to a position or workplace that will enable an employee to do his or her job despite having a disability. Essentially, employers much give employees the ability to perform the essential functions for the position.

Common Examples of a Reasonable Accommodation in the Workplace

Common examples of accommodations in the workplace include:

  • Permitting the employee time off to see a medical professional;
  • Providing an employee with a chair to sit during work where it would otherwise be required the employee to stand;
  • Permitting an employee to wear a cloth cap if they suffered a head injury;
  • Modifying job duties due to the employee’s disability;
  • People with disabilities may require flexible leave because of:
    • Medical treatment related to the disability;
    • Permitting the employee time off to see a medical professional;
    • Permitting an employee to work from home;
  • Permitting the employee to bring an assistive animal to the workplace;
  • Wheelchair access

Can an Employer Terminate an Employee Due to a Disability?

In addition to providing reasonable accommodations, employers cannot wrongfully terminate an employee based on that employee’s disability. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated or have been denied a reasonable accommodation due to a disability we invite you to contact our office and speak to one of our California employment attorneys today at (213) 401-2777 for a free consultation.

Can An Employer Demote an Employee Due to a Disability?

If an employer has demoted or denied a disabled employee a well-deserved promotion and there is evidence to suggest the promotion is denied based on the employee’s disability, the disabled employee may have a valid cause of action against the employer. 

Is an Employer Required to Accommodate All Types of Medical Conditions?

It is important to note, however, employers are not required to accommodate every single medical condition. To receive the protection of California’s reasonable accommodation laws, the condition must qualify as a disability. A qualified disability includes conditions that limit a major life activity. A condition limits a major life activity if it makes accomplishing that activity difficult.

What is Considered a Major Life Activity for Employment Disability Discrimination Purposes?

Courts generally interpret a “major life activity” more broadly. Major life activities include basic life functions such as, walking, eating, sleeping, sitting for a long period of time, working, physical activities, and mental activities.

Can an Employee File a Lawsuit for Being Discriminated Against Due to a Disability?

An employee that has been discriminated against by an employer due to a disability may be entitled to compensation in the form of general damages, pain and suffering (physical and/or mental), and potentially punitive damages.

California Employment Law Attorneys

At the Manuelian Law Firm, our California Employment Law Attorneys focus on protecting the rights and interests of employees who have suffered wrongdoing in the workplace. California Employment Law Attorneys of the Manuelian Law Firm possess the qualities you need in a true advocate. To schedule your free consultation to discuss your situation, contact the Manuelian Law Firm today by calling (213) 401-2777 for a free consultation.

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