Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Attorneys
California law provides strong protections to workers with physical and mental disabilities. These protections apply to both long-term and short-term disabilities. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against employees who are disabled or have a history of disability. In addition, employers are required to offer reasonable work accommodations to employees with disabilities to help them perform their jobs.
Compensation for instances of disability discrimination can include:
- Damages for lost income
- Damages for emotional stress
- Reinstatement or improvement in working conditions
At Broslavsky & Weinman, LLP, our Los Angeles disability discrimination attorneys represent employees who have been the target of disability discrimination at work or denied reasonable work accommodations. We aggressively advocate our clients’ rights while working to help them secure the justice and compensation they deserve.
Common Examples of Disability Discrimination
Disability discrimination can occur in various ways, with some of the more common forms including:
- Firing or demoting disabled workers due to their impairment(s)
- Forcing disabled workers to quit due to their impairment(s)
- Requiring disabled workers to perform tasks or take on responsibilities that go against their medical restrictions
- Refusing to provide disabled workers with time off to get medical care
- Refusing to make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers. Reasonable accommodations can include (but are by no means limited to) allowing disabled workers to switch their work schedules or hours, altering disabled workers’ job responsibilities, and providing disabled workers with special equipment or aides
- Retaliating against disabled workers who request accommodations
- Not hiring qualified job applicants because of their impairment(s)
California law has also recently been expanded to – at least under certain circumstances – provide protections to non-disabled employees who need an accommodation to care for a disabled family member.
What Conditions Are Recognized as a “Disability”?
California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act defines disability as any physical or mental condition that limits one or more major life activities. Unlike the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, California law does not require the limitation on major life activities to be “substantial,” which makes it significantly easier to qualify as being disabled in California than in most other states.
“Major life activity” is broadly defined to include basic physical, mental, and social activities such as walking, standing, bending, lifting, performing other manual tasks, seeing, hearing, talking, reading, learning, and concentrating.
Some of the most common examples of conditions recognized as disabilities include:
- Broken bones, torn tendons, and back injuries
- Diseases such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes
- Neurological impairments such as severe migraine headaches, seizures and nervous system disorders
- Psychiatric or mental impairments such as post-traumatic stress syndrome or clinical depression
- Visual, speech and hearing impairments
- Some allergic reactions and breathing impairments such as asthma
- Gastrointestinal ailments such as Crohn’s disease
- Blood disorders
- Muscular dystrophy and carpal tunnel syndrome
Under certain circumstances, an employee may also sometimes be considered to have a disability if he or she had a prior history of these conditions (even if he or she had recovered), or if his or her employer (even incorrectly) thinks that person is disabled.
What Are the Employer’s Duties to Accommodate a Disability?
Employers are legally required to provide reasonable accommodations for the known disabilities of employees or job applicants. Where an employee is still capable of performing his job but needs reasonable accommodations, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to provide these accommodations and then fire or punish the employee for failure to perform.
The appropriate reasonable accommodation is an individualized analysis that is determined on a case-by-case basis and depends on the type of disability at issue and the type of work performed by the employee.
A non-exhaustive list of possible accommodations includes:
- Job restructuring or modification of job duties
- Offering modified work schedules
- Reassignment to a vacant position
- Permitting leave of absence for necessary medical treatment or to allow the employee to recuperate
- Acquisition or modification of equipment or devices to help an employee do his or her job
- Making facilities accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities
- Adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials or policies
- Providing assistance to perform job functions that are affected by the disability
Interactive Process Requirement
When an employer becomes aware of the need for accommodation, the employer is required to engage in a “good faith interactive process” with the employee to discuss potential accommodations.
The employee and the employer are supposed to have a dialogue to discuss the issues affecting the employee and possible reasonable accommodations that might address those issues. The employer is expected to review and understand the employee’s restrictions, compare them to the employee’s job or other jobs available, and determine how to accommodate those restrictions. An employer that either does not engage in the interactive process at all, or engages in an insufficient interactive process, may be held to violate the law.
If you have been discriminated against based on disability, our Los Angeles disability discrimination lawyers can assist you. Call us at (310) 575-2550 or fill out the contact form on this page to set up an initial consultation with one of our lawyers and find out more about how we can help.
With office locations in Los Angeles and San Bernardino, our attorneys provide legal service and representation to clients throughout California.