Our Lawyers Fight Disability Discrimination in California
Under California and federal law, an employer is prohibited from discriminating against an employee because of a physical or mental disability as long as the employee can still perform his or her job. In addition, an employer is required to make reasonable accommodations to allow disabled people to perform the essential duties of their work. In general, these protections are also in place within educational institutions. As a student, you must be given reasonable accommodations for you to achieve success. If you think you have been the victim of disability discrimination, or have been denied accommodation at the workplace or at school, contact the Law Offices of Arias, Ozzello, & Gignac. Our lawyers fight disability discrimination in California and our law firm can protect your rights and help you pursue the compensation that you deserve.
In addition to fighting for compensation for the discrimination that you have endured, we may also force an employer or institution to alter its policies. By protecting your rights, we may be able to protect the rights of other people facing the same challenges. Better yet, we may be able to prevent another person from suffering the same discrimination that you experienced.
How the Law Defines Disability and What Laws Provide Protection
Both federal and California law protect qualified employees with disabilities. California's Fair Employment and Housing Act, which is the state equivalent of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, prohibits discrimination on the basis of both physical and mental disabilities. The law defines disability in the following way:
- Physical disabilities include, but are not limited to, any physiological conditions that limit an individual’s ability to participate in major life activities. Examples include chronic or episodic conditions such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, epilepsy, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, back injuries, high blood pressure and many others. In addition, an employee who is merely perceived by the employer has having a disability and is discriminated against may file a disability discrimination claim.
- Mental disabilities include any mental or psychological disorder. Examples include mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and specific learning disabilities that limit a major life activity.
The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California's version of the law protect people with disabilities from discrimination in the workplace. Under these laws, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability in any aspect of employment, such as:
- application procedures
- hours and location of work
- promotion or advancement
- vacation and leave
- any other term, condition, or privilege of employment
You have a Right to Reasonable Accommodations
A disabled employee has the right to ask their employer to make reasonable accommodations. These should allow the employee to perform his or her job effectively. The employer is required to provide reasonable accommodations unless doing so would cause the employer an undue hardship. Once reasonable accommodations are requested, the employer must consider the request in good faith. They may make counter-offers that they consider more reasonable. There are many examples of reasonable accommodations. Some of the following are a few of the most common:
- modifying the employee’s job duties
- providing the employee extra help (such as having another employee carry heavy items for a worker with a back injury)
- adjusting work schedules to accommodate physical therapy or medical appointments
- installing ramps or widening doors to make them wheel chair accessible
- purchasing new equipment such as special chairs or other ergonomic equipment
As a disabled employee, you have certain rights that we can help defend and protect. If you have been discriminated against or have been denied a reasonable accommodation that would help you do your job, contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation.