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Medical and disability discrimination in the workplace

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2020 | Employment Law |

Workplace discrimination takes many forms. Thankfully, various state statutes are designed to help prevent and prohibit prejudiced treatment at work. In California, there are employment laws to protect people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Pre-existing medical conditions can range from seemingly mild issues such as allergies to significant ailments, such as stroke-related problems. Regardless of the condition, no one should face discrimination due to a medical condition. Unfortunately, many people do.

Discrimination can take place before or after the hiring process. If someone applies for a job and shows a visible problem, such as walking with the use of a cane, an employer may illegally choose not to hire the individual. Some medical problems, such as heart disease issues, may not become apparent until after the person gets hired. A worker might discover promotions become nonexistent or work duties are minimized. Perhaps the employer wants to discourage someone with heart ailments from staying with the company.

Both examples reflect possible workplace discrimination scenarios. Anyone facing such bias could potentially file a civil suit. The federal Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits such discrimination. The same is true under California law due to the passage of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

The ADA also establishes that employers must provide reasonable accommodations to assist someone with a disability. An employer that refuses to do so or falsely claims undue hardship might end up in legal troubles. Again, an employee may be able to take civil actions depending on the situation.

Plaintiffs could seek various forms of damages in a civil suit. Loss of income due to denied promotions may be one. The plaintiff could even ask for punitive damages that effectively punish the employer. If you feel that you’ve faced discrimination at work, consider reaching out to an employment law attorney.