Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Attorney

Are You a Disabled Employee in California? We Fight Workplace Discrimination

Having to find a disability discrimination lawyer in Los Angeles often comes unexpectedly. Any person can fall ill, either temporarily or permanently. The recent COVID-19 pandemic increased this vulnerability making it all the more important that you know your rights.

California employees enjoy broader protections under state law than under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which concurrently applies. Hence, a setback to your health should not impact your ability to succeed at work and is no excuse for your employer to deprive you of needed health benefits and income. 

Disability is 3rd Leading Cause of Job Discrimination

While disabled employees are protected under both federal and California state disability discrimination laws, they still make up over a third of employees reporting illegal workplace inequities.

disability discrimination eeoc report 2020 statistics

Is Your Employer In Violation Of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Employers who refuse to make adjustments to allow you to continue to do your job or harbor hostility because they may view you as less capable or consider you a burden despite your job performance and commitment run afoul of California law.  Employers may even misrepresent your rights related to medical accommodations, medical leave, etc., in an effort to avoid complying with California law.

Do not allow your employer to force you into medical leave if you can continue working with or without an accommodation.  Furthermore, medical leave can be taken intermittently rather than all at once e.g., when symptoms flare up or for treatment.

Employers also cannot enforce policies that diminishes your legal rights. Employers must except you from maximum medical leave policies or attendance policies that penalize you for absences caused by your symptoms.  An employer must accommodate your medical condition unless the accommodation poses a sincere undue burden.

What Are Your Employment Disability Rights?

California is very protective of individuals in your situation. In California, it is illegal to discriminate, harass, or otherwise mistreat you on account of your disability, medical condition, and/or your medical leave.

California also protects your ability to continue working by requiring your employer to extend a reasonable medical accommodation.  Upon learning of your health issue, an employer must reach out to learn about your individual needs and give you the tools you need to obtain an accommodation. Be responsive to such efforts and keep your employer reasonably updated.  Employers who willfully refuse to communicate will be hard pressed to argue that they “had no idea when the employee was returning to work or what limitations were needed.”

The Good Faith Interactive Process Requirement

Once an employer is aware that you have a temporary or permanent health issue that requires a medical accommodation, an employer must engage and communicate with you in good faith to find a reasonable accommodation. Both you and the employer must participate in this process. The point of interacting is to determine and find a reasonable accommodation that allows you to keep your job to avoid termination. Employer has a continuous obligation to engage in this process. For example, if the current accommodation is no longer workable and must be changed or extended, employer must continue to work with you.

Both sides have to keep communications open, and make available to the other necessary information. For example, an employer should reach out to you if employer has a question or concern about your workplace limitations and provide you with necessary information to obtain an accommodation. Good idea for you to respond and cooperate to reasonable inquires that do not infringe on your privacy rights. The intercreative process may reveal solutions that neither party envisioned.

An employer intent on obstructing your equal right to work despite having a disability may not take this obligation seriously. If your employer refuses to make the requisite effort to find a suitable accommodation or makes a superficial effort, you may have an additional claim of failure to engage in a good faith interactive process. When an employer does not engage in this process, it cannot be known whether an alternative job would have been found. Good idea to document your employer’s actions and efforts. If you believe that your employer is obstructing rather than participating in good faith, please contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

What Accommodations Are Required For Disabled Employees?

The type of accommodations required depends on your individual needs. Accommodations may include the following:

  • Modified work schedule
  • Medical leave
  • Extension of medical leave
  • Transition to different position
  • Improvements to accessibility 
  • Additional breaks
  • Other modification that does not pose an undue hardship

Why Choose the Employee Rights Attorney Group to Fight for You

Losing your job and employer provided medical benefits at your most vulnerable time is traumatizing.  Our practice (Employee Rights Attorney Group) focuses exclusively on employee rights including the rights of the disabled. We limit our caseload to represent a few individuals at a time to remain available, supportive and provide compassionate representation to help you get back to a life you had. 

What is the Time Limit to File a Disability Discrimination Claim in Los Angeles?

We generally encourage victims of disability discrimination to purse claims under California employment disability protection laws in state court as opposed to under Federal law in Federal courts. California law is more protective of your right to continue working despite your disability. Under California law, the statute of limitations is three (3) years. However, we advise that you nonetheless act quickly. The longer you wait the harder it may be to shore up the necessary evidence.

What Types of Compensation Are Available for These Cases?

The types of compensation available in a disability discrimination case depends on your individual losses.  For example, if you were denied a raise and promotion because of your disability, you may seek the difference in pay.  If you were fired, you may also seek compensation for loss of salary and value of lost medical/retirement benefits.  Victims often suffer from severe and pervasive emotional harm that requires treatment. Emotional harm damages are also available as well as injunctive relief intended to prevent the Corporation from continuing to mistreat the disabled.  We will help you obtain the justice you deserve!

Examples of Disability Discrimination in the California workplace:

Termination in Lieu of Accommodations

A teacher was terminated on medical leave because her anxiety disorder required her to be off work.  Because her medical condition motivated her termination and medical leave did not pose an undue hardship on the employer, the termination was illegal;

Discriminatory Treatment Once Employer Learns of Your Condition

After employer received notice that employee suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome and that she would need time off work for surgery and treatment, employer began treating her differently by declining to promote her and relegated her to undesirable assignments while treating her counterparts, who did not suffer from health issues, more favorably;  

Terminated for Not Being Able to Do Non-Essential Tasks

A cable installer’s back issue prevented him from lifting over 25 lb.  But this task occupied less than 10% of his time and therefore was not essential to his job indicating he could continue working.  Employer’s decision to terminate him because he was unable to perform a non-essential task due to his disability, may give rise to a disability discrimination claim; 

Harassed Because of Your Medical Condition

Employer frequently mocked the employee’s hearing impairment, moved her work station to a loud area, deliberately spoke in a low voice knowing she could not hear, unjustifiably berated her until she had a nervous breakdown and was taken to a hospital.

Discrimination manifests itself in different ways.  Generally, there is some adverse action.  Retaliation for reporting disability discrimination or for seeking help with your medical condition in the form of an accommodation, is a separate violation that gives rise to an additional claim.

Disability Discrimination FAQ

How Can I Prove Disability Discrimination in CA? 

There is no one way to prove disability discrimination.  Generally, you have to show that you suffered an adverse action (failure to promote, termination, etc.) that was motivated by your disability.  The examples identified above identify some of the relevant events that may evidence that your employer discriminated and/or targeted you because of your disability.  

Is Depression Covered by Anti-Disability Discrimination Laws? 

Yes.  Depression is covered.  Other mental health issues covered include anxiety, panic attacks, bipolar disorder, certain learning disabilities, chronic or episodic conditions such as PTSD, emotional illnesses, schizophrenia (non-violent), etc. 

How Do I Sue for Disability Discrimination?

You should hire an expert Los Angeles worker’s rights attorney, who specializes  and has the requisite experience in employment law matters including disability discrimination claims.  Proceeding on your own is not advisable.

Located in Beverly Hills, CA

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To take advantage of your legal rights, contact us today.
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