Disabled people are a protected class under federal and state laws. These laws generally make it illegal for employers to discharge, fail to promote, fail to hire or otherwise mistreat an individual because of a physical or mental disability so long as that person is able to perform the job. It also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with such physical or mental disabilities.
Who Is Covered Under the Disability Laws?
The legal definition may be broader than you think. For example, under California law, you are protected if you:
- Have any physiological disease, disorder, condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss that limits your ability to participate in major life activities such as working, talking, walking, hearing, seeing or learning. Examples include HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, epilepsy, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
- If your employer perceives you to have a physical impairment that is disabling, potentially disabling, or perceived as disabling or potentially disabling.
- Have a history of a medical condition or impairment such as cancer that is in remission.
- Have a permanent or even temporary physical or mental impairment, including a condition that may last six months or less such as a broken leg, clinically diagnosed depression, stress or anxiety, pregnancy, ADHD/ADD, etc.
What Are Examples of Discrimination?
Disability discrimination encompasses a wide range of scenarios, including:
- Failure to accommodate for disability or medical condition
- Failure to grant someone leave entitled to them, for example, under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
- Failure to hire a qualified employee due to his or her disability or perceived disability
- Discharging a disabled individual for requesting accommodations
- Failure to engage in the interactive process
What Is the Interactive Process?
Once an employee communicates he or she has a disability and may need an accommodation, certain state laws require an interactive process between the employer and the employee. On the employer side, this interactive process requires the employer to communicate with the employee in selecting an appropriate accommodation.
What Reasonable Accommodations Should You Expect?
The law requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. Accommodations can include:
- Medical leave or extension of medical leave
- Permitting an employee to work from home
- Reassigning to an available position
- Modified equipment or devices
- Modified work schedules
- Adjustment of policies or additional training
- Interpreters or other required assistance
- Accessible workspace
Let Our Attorneys Protect Your Rights
At Allred, Maroko & Goldberg, our attorneys are well-known to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, and other state agencies. We are respected for our aggressive, yet honest, representation of clients in valid disability discrimination claims.
Contact Us to Discuss Your Case
If you have been a victim of disability discrimination, please call our Los Angeles office at 323-302-4774 or our New York office at 212-202-2966 or contact our offices online.