Disability Discrimination And Failure To Accommodate

Do You Have a Claim for Failure to Accommodate Your Medical Condition?

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, you must know your rights.  No one is immune from falling ill, getting into an accident, or breaking down mentally and emotionally from abuse at work.  

H.R. is the Company’s representative, paid by the Company to protect its interests which may include depriving you of your rights while mitigating the risk of litigation to avoid accountability. Below is an overview of some of the red flags that may prompt you to speak to lawyer that would have your interests in mind. This is not a complete list of all the creative ways that Corporations seek to skirt the law and avoid the time and expense of helping you.

The People of California passed laws that set a high standard of how you must be treated during your vulnerable time.   When you need your medical benefits and job the most, the law protects you from termination, harassment, retaliation and discrimination. Please contact us to speak to an attorney specializing in medical leave and medical accommodation laws if you are facing hostility at work. 

What Are Some Examples of a Reasonable Medical Accommodation?

  • Reassignment to a different position
  • Time off work for seeking treatment for alcohol or drug use
  • Job restructuring
  • Additional training
  • Allowing you to work from home
  • Flexible or modified work schedule
  • Altering when or how essential job functions must be performed
  • Job restructuring
  • Making facilities more accessible
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices
  • Allowing assistive animals on the worksite (e.g., guide, service, or emotional support dogs or animals)
  • Changing supervisory methods
  • Medical leave for treatment or recovery, which includes extensions of existing leave. Holding a job open for a disabled employee who needs time to recuperate or heal is itself a reasonable accommodation. It is a red flag when an employer pressures you to take medical leave, even though you can remain at work with a modified work schedule. Please speak to an attorney if your employer refuses to allow you to remain at work.

Other accommodations may be considered.  If your employer offers a particular  accommodation to others ( e.g., ability to work from home), but denies your request, it is another red flag that should prompt you to contact one of our attorneys.

Retaliation and/or Discrimination for Requesting an Accommodation

Pay attention to how you are treated after requesting an accommodation.  Is there hostility? Are your needs being ignored? Is your work reassigned without legitimate reason? Are you being excluded from meetings or phased out? These are just some of the factors that signal retaliation – red flags that should prompt you to speak with a lawyer. 

Medical Accommodation Legal Representation

Our medical accommodation attorneys will help you. Hard working employees should not have to choose between their doctor’s orders, their health, and their job. Contact our attorneys today for a consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.

Disability Discrimination And Failure To Accommodate: FAQ's

What Is a Reasonable Accommodation Request?

It is a request for a change or a modification in the workplace, which may include one or more of the above, that enables  you to continue to perform your essential job functions.  Whether your request is “reasonable” depends on your individual circumstances.  If your employer disingenuously claims that your request is unreasonably, speak to an attorney. 

How Do You Request a Reasonable Accommodation at Work?

H.R. must give employees guidance as to what the employer requires. Under California law, a request for a reasonable accommodation does not have to be in writing.  But it is a good idea for you to submit the request in writing because an employer seeking to evade its duty to accommodate you may claim ignorance. Even the EEOC recognizes that submitting a request in writing will avoid a dispute regarding whether a request was made. An employee also doesn’t need to use the term “reasonable accommodation” or any particular buzzword or phrase.   For example, “I cannot make it on time to work in the morning because of my medical appointments and/or treatments I’m undergoing,” is a request for an accommodation that should prompt your employer to offer accommodations. Notice of medical leave or list of restrictions, also notifies employer that you need an accommodation.

Do I Have to Disclose My Medical Condition to My Employer?

An employer may ask you if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.  Generally, however, inquiries about the nature of your medical condition are prohibited.  An employer may require a second medical opinion at its own expense.  Your employer may inquire about your prognosis of recovery and your limitations.   

How Quickly Must an Employer Respond to a Request for a Reasonable Accommodation?

Generally, an employer is required to respond promptly but there is no set time, e.g., within 24 hours. However, long delays may subject the employer to liability. If you are forced to work without an accommodation for prolonged periods of time, this is a red flag and you may even have a case of constructive termination. Please contact one of our attorneys to discuss your situation.

What Is an Interactive Process?

After receiving a request for an accommodation or if you’ve exhausted CFRA/FMLA leave and/or employer’s internal leave policy and need more leave, your employer must initiate an interactive process with good faith intentions to accommodate you. An employer must do everything in its power to help you and avoid a termination. Employer must work with you to find a suitable accommodation by continually communicating with you, seeking your input, and seeking and/or providing any information that is needed. Your employer also has to keep you informed of all available accommodations and be mindful of changes and/or improvements in your condition. Each employer’s needs are different, so it is incumbent on the employer to notify and guide you. Another red flag is when an employer is unresponsive, offers accommodations that don’t apply to you, or creates unnecessary obstacles. This may be a sign that your employer is actively pushing you out of your job. Speak to an attorney ASAP.

Can an Employer Refuse Reasonable Accommodations?

Certain requests for an accommodation are not considered reasonable. For example, an employer does not need to promote or create a new position to accommodate an employee, unless an employer has a policy or practice of doing so. In other words, if the employer has done it in the past for others, it may be required to extend such accommodations to you. An employer can also refuse an accommodation request if it imposes an undue hardship (not just a hardship); meaning a significant difficulty or financial expense in light of the employer’s resources and tax breaks. 

Can I Lose My Job Because of My Disability?

If you can continue to perform your essential job duties with or without a reasonable accommodation, your employer cannot terminate you.  Please see Disability Discrimination.  The same facts may give rise to multiple violations.

Is Failure to Accommodate Discrimination?

Failure to accommodate is a form of disability discrimination.  The two claims are related because the failure to accommodate often leads to an adverse action such as demotion, termination, or hostile work environment because of your disability. 

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