California and federal law prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee or potential employee because of a physical or mental disability, as long as the individual can still perform the tasks required of their job. The law also stipulates that an employer is required to make reasonable accommodations to the disabled employee to assist them in performing the duties essential to their work. If you feel you have been the victim of disability discrimination, or that your employer has not made reasonable accommodations at the workplace, you should contact us to confidentially discuss the details of your case.
As mentioned, California and federal law protect qualified employees that have disabilities. California has the Fair Employment and Housing Act and federally there exists the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both prohibit discrimination on the basis of both physical and mental disabilities. The Fair Employment and Housing Act specifically provides protection from harassment or discrimination in employment because of:
- Age (40 and over)
- Religious Creed (including religious dress and grooming practices)
- Denial of Family and Medical Care Leave
- Disability (mental and physical) including HIV and AIDS
- Marital Status
- Medical Condition (cancer and genetic characteristics)
- Genetic Information
- Military and Veteran Status
- National Origin (including langauge use restrictions)
- Sex (which includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding)
- Gender, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression
- Sexual Orientation
In addition, it is also illegal for an employer to discriminate against a qualified individual who has a disability in any aspect of employment, including, but not limited to:
- Application process and procedures
- Employee benefits
- Hours of work
- Location of work
- Promotion and/or advancement
- Vacation and leave time
What constitutes reasonable accommodation?
When an employee has a disability the employer must explore all options in providing reasonable accommodation prior to rejecting the applicant for a job or making any employment-related decisions. What constitutes reasonable accommodation? An accommodation is considered reasonable if it does not impose undue hardship on the employer’s business. Examples of reasonable accommodation may include:
- Changing the job duties
- Changing the work shift
- Providing leave for medical care
- Accommodating work schedules
- Relocating the work area
- Providing mechanical or electrical aids
The employer cannot fire the employee for requesting reasonable accommodations and they cannot disregard the request, either. A disabled employee has the right to ask their employer to make reasonable accommodations that allow them to perform their job effectively.
When is disability discrimination allowed by an employer?
Under certain circumstances an employer may discriminate against a disabled person if they can demonstrate that the individual in question would:
- Be unable to perform the essential functions required of the job and that no reasonable accommodations exist or can be made that would enable the person to perform the essential functions required of the job.
- Create an imminent and substantial danger to themselves or to others by performing the job and that no reasonable accommodations exist or can be made to remove or reduce that danger.
As a disabled employee you have rights that need to be defended and protected. If you feel you have been the victim of disability discrimination we encourage you to contact us to confidentially discuss the details of your case.