Disability discrimination in the workplace is illegal under California law. This includes discrimination or discriminating practices against an individual in hiring, promoting, or termination. Unfortunately for individuals who are victims of disability discrimination, the employer does not always provide evidence of discrimination. However, an experienced California workplace discrimination attorney can uncover evidence of discrimination to help workers get compensation.
At Sirmabekian Law Firm, we prioritize workplace discrimination cases because we understand how important is to be treated fairly in employment and how discrimination can impact individuals and their families. We will answer some of the most common questions about disability discrimination in California, like:
- What are disability discrimination protections in California?
- What kinds of disabilities are protected in the workplace?
- What evidence is there that an employer was discriminating against an employee because of a disability?
- Is an employer allowed to refuse to hire me due to a mental or physical disability?
- Does my employer in California have any responsibility to prevent discrimination?
- What do I have to prove in Los Angeles to win a disability discrimination claim?
- Who do I contact in Los Angeles to file a disability discrimination lawsuit?
If you have other questions, contact us in Los Angeles today to schedule a free initial consultation.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) provides employment protections for workers who are discriminated against based on physical and mental disability or perceived disability.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) provides employment protections for workers who are discriminated against based on physical and mental disability or perceived disability. FEHA laws protect employees against disability discrimination in the:
- Hiring process;
- Termination or discharge process;
- Selection for training programs leading to employment;
- Promotion or demotion;
- Lack of reasonable accommodation;
- Management and discipline of employees; and
- Compensation, terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also provides federal protections against workplace discrimination based on disability.
Violations of the FEHA may result in back pay, benefits, and reinstatement for employees. If you experienced wrongful termination based on disability discrimination, contact an experienced wrongful termination attorney in Los Angeles to understand your rights.
A disability includes a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities or is being regarded as an impairment.
A physical disability can include any disorder, physiological disease, condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss that does both of the following
- Affects one or more of these body systems: immunological, neurological, special sense organs, musculoskeletal, the respiratory system which includes speech organs, reproductive, cardiovascular, digestive, hemic and lymphatic, genitourinary, skin, and endocrine; and
- Limits a major life activity.
Mental disabilities include:
- Psychological or mental disorder or condition, such as organic brain syndrome, intellectual disability, emotional or mental illness, or specific learning disabilities, that limits a major life activity.
- Any other mental or psychological disorder or condition that requires special education or related services
FEHA also protects those who have a record or history of a mental or physical disability that is known to the employer or those who are regarded or treated as having a mental or physical disability.
However, protected physical and mental disabilities are not inclusive of sexual behavior disorders, kleptomania, pyromania, compulsive gambling, or psychoactive substance use disorders that result from the use of unlawful drugs.
Workers who are discriminated against based on a perceived impairment are still protected, even if the employer is wrong. For example, Antonio sprained his ankle before going to a job interview for a delivery position. The employer saw Antonio limping and thought he did not want anyone with a physical disability and falsely told Antonio the job had been filled. Antonio may have been discriminated against based on a perceived disability that did not exist. This may be a form of unlawful discrimination
Employers are not always honest about their discrimination. An employer may not directly say, “we are not hiring you because of your disability.” However, if you believe you have been discriminated against in the workplace, you may be correct. There may be a number of indicators of discrimination. Talk to your Los Angeles discrimination attorney about signs of discrimination, which may include:
- Sudden changes in performance reviews;
- Changes in job duties;
- Reduced hours for no apparent reason;
- Exclusion from meetings;
- Being treated differently than other employees based on the same rules or policies;
- Harassment from co-workers that are not addressed by supervisors or managers; or
- Failure to hire or promote other disabled applicants or employees.
Employers are not always honest about their discrimination. An employer may not directly say, “we are not hiring you because of your disability.” However, if you believe you have been discriminated against in the workplace, you may be correct. There may be a number of indicators of discrimination. Talk to your Los Angeles discrimination attorney about signs of discrimination, which may include.
Under the ACA, qualified individuals are those who, with or without reasonable accommodation, have the ability to perform the essential functions of the said employment position. A “reasonable accommodation,” includes:
- making sure existing facilities used by employees are readily accessible and usable to individuals with disabilities; and
- part-time or altered work schedules, job restructuring, reassignment to vacant positions, modification or acquisition of devices or equipment, training materials or policies, appropriate modifications or adjustments of examinations, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and any other similar types of accommodation for individuals with disabilities.
Employers in California are required to provide reasonable accommodation to a disabled worker unless that reasonable accommodation would cause undue hardship to the employer.
Employers are generally required to take all reasonable steps necessary to prevent discrimination and harassment from occurring. Even if the employer is not directly discriminating against a disabled employee, employers may have a duty to prevent others from discriminating against the disabled employee.
Depending on the type of discrimination, there may be a number of options for the individual to file a discrimination complaint. For workplace harassment claims, the employee may have to report the discrimination to human resources or a supervisor before filing a complaint. This is intended to give the employer notice of the harassment and an opportunity to correct the issue.
Alternatively, employees or applicants who are subject to discrimination may file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). This generally requires going through all the administrative options first before filing a lawsuit. A disability discrimination complaint can be filed online, by phone, or through a form submitted to the DFEH. This may include an interview and lead to an investigation.
The DFEH may decide not to pursue the complaint or continue with the investigation. The next step may include mediation and if mediation is not successful, the DFEH could file a lawsuit or release the employee to file a lawsuit. However, your California employment law attorney can obtain a right to sue without having to go through the administrative process.
California and federal laws protect workers and applicants against unlawful disability discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Reporting disability discrimination can also help other workers and protect others from similar discrimination in the future.
Contact Sirmabekian Law Firm online or at 818-473-5003 to schedule an appointment to speak with an attorney who has the skills and experience to help make sure you get the best outcome for your disability discrimination or harassment claim. An initial consultation will not cost you anything and you will be able to get an idea about your rights and options to move forward.
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