Are You a Victim of Disability Discrimination in the Workplace?
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA“) and the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA“) serve to protect employees with both physical and mental disabilities against discrimination. If you have a disability discrimination claim, you may be able to recover damages for lost wages, benefits, emotional distress and even punitive damages in some cases. The law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow disabled people to perform a job’s essential functions.
What is Disability Discrimination?
It is unlawful to discriminate against qualified persons with disabilities in almost all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, job applications, interviews, promotions, compensation, benefits, training, as well as other terms of employment. The law also protects individuals who are perceived to have either a physical or mental disability but who are not in fact disabled.
What Qualifies As a Disability?
Typically, employment in California is “at will.” What that means is that, unless your employer made a specific promise about the length of your employment in an employment contract, the employer can fire you or lay you off at any time with or without reason. However, as a knowledgeable employment lawyer with years of experience, I know there are numerous reasons for which your employer cannot fire you. If they do, you may have cause to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.
An Employer's Duty to Accommodate Disabled Employees in California
An employer is required to make reasonable accommodations to assist an employee with a disability to perform the essential functions of their job – unless the employer can show that doing so would create an undue hardship (for example, it involves significant cost).
Elements of a Claim for Disability Discrimination
The basic elements of a claim for disability discrimination in California are: