What Is Disability Discrimination?
Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats a disabled employee differently in the workplace or terminates a disabled employee because of the employee's disability. In the typical scenario, disability discrimination occurs after an employee discloses a disability to their employer and requests the employer provide accommodation for their disability.
WHAT IS A "DISABILITY" UNDER THE LAW?
California law protects employees who have a physical or a mental "disability." A "physical disability" is any disease, disorder, condition, disfigurement or anatomical loss that affects a body system and limits a major life activity. A "mental disability" is any mental or psychological disorder that limits a major life activity.
Examples of physical disabilities include, but are not limited to, back, neck, shoulder, leg, foot, arm and hand injuries; deafness; blindness; missing limbs; mobility impairment; cerebral palsy; HIV/AIDS; hepatitis; epilepsy; seizure disorder; diabetes; multiple sclerosis; and heart disease.
Examples of mental disabilities include, but are not limited to, clinical depression; anxiety; bipolar disorder; emotional or mental illness; intellectual or cognitive disability; learning disabilities; autism; schizophrenia; post-traumatic stress disorder; and obsessive compulsive disorder.
California law also prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee who the employer perceives to be disabled, even if the employee does not actually have a physical or a mental disability.
Does YOUR Employer Have A Duty To Accommodate YOUR DISABILITY?
Yes, California law requires employers to provide its disabled employees with "reasonable accommodation" so that employees can continue to perform the essential functions of their jobs despite their disabilities. Types of reasonable accommodations an employer could be required to provide is a leave of absence from work so the employee can treat and recover, job restructuring, reassignment to a vacant position, part-time or modified work schedules, and acquisition or modification of equipment or devices. Although your employer has a duty to accommodate your disability, your employer does not have to provide accommodation if doing so would create a "undue hardship" to the company.
WHAT ARE YOU ENTITLED TO RECOVER IN A Disability DISCRIMINATION CASE?
- All lost wages, income, earnings or salary you lost, and will lose in the future, as the result of the discriminatory conduct or your employer's failure to accommodate your disability
- Monetary compensation for your past and future mental suffering, inconvenience, anxiety, humiliation, and emotional distress
- Punitive damages to deter your employer from engaging in similar conduct in the future
Brock & Gonzales, LLP specializes in disability discrimination cases. If you feel you have been discriminated against on account of your disability or if your employer is not accommodating your disability, contact us to set up a free consultation.