Disability Discrimination FAQs
Individuals with disabilities have the right to work without being discriminated against. Unfortunately, disability discrimination occurs, and those subject to it often are confused about what legal options they may have. The Orange County disability discrimination lawyers at the Serendib Law Firm are available to help answer any questions you have about your legal rights. The following are questions we frequently get asked that might provide guidance for your situation. If you need further assistance, please contact our office today to speak with an attorney.
- What Laws Protect Me From Discrimination at Work?
- What Qualifies as a ‘Disability’?
- What Reasonable Accommodations Can I Expect From an Employer?
- What Actions Are Considered Discriminatory?
- How Can I Hold My Employer Responsible for Discriminating Against Me?
- What Kind of Compensation Will I Be Entitled To?
- How Much Time Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
- Who Can I Talk to About My Legal Options?
Federally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects disabled individuals from discrimination. In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) also prohibits disability discrimination. California law offers more protections, and broader coverage, for disabled employees in the state. However, both require covered employers under each law to provide reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities.
Under the FEHA, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that restricts a major life function, such as working. The ADA, however, adds the qualifier that the impairment must ‘substantially’ restrict a major life activity. Some examples of disabilities include cancer or arthritis, as well as psychiatric disorders such as PTSD. A knowledgeable Orange County disability discrimination attorney can help you assess whether your condition qualifies under either statute.
Both the FEHA and ADA require employers to provide ‘reasonable accommodations’ for disabled employees, as long as the accommodation does not impose an undue hardship on the operation of business. Depending on your specific circumstances, accommodations can vary. Generally, employers can allow for increased breaks or break time, specialized equipment to aid in job duties, a flexible work schedule, providing accessibility to facilities as well as allowing time for employees to go to medical appointments.
The FEHA not only prohibits discrimination based on an actual disability, but also any discrimination based on a perceived disability or of employees with a history of having a known disability. Discrimination is any adverse employment action taken against an employee based on their disability. These adverse actions may include demotions, terminations, failure to hire or promote, as well as reducing pay or disparate pay. Harassment or creation of a hostile work environment is also discriminatory. If you’ve been subject to discrimination at work, it is important to contact an experienced disability discrimination lawyer in Orange County as soon as possible so that your rights can be properly protected.
Filing a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is most often the first step in pursuing a discrimination claim. Next, filing a lawsuit may be necessary. In discrimination cases, a plaintiff must show that they were treated unfairly due to their disability despite being qualified and competent at their job. These steps are subject to different statutes of limitations. It is highly advisable to consult with an experienced disability discrimination attorney as soon as possible.
Every circumstance is different, but generally if discrimination is shown, an employee can be awarded damages for back pay, expenses related to job search, medical costs, and attorney’s fees. When employers act with extreme malice, punitive damages can also be awarded.
As of January 2020, the FEHA one-year statute of limitations was extended to three years from the date of the discrimination, retaliation, or harassment.
Orange County disability discrimination attorneys at the Serendib Law Firm are available to speak with you about your situation and determine what your next legal step should be. If you have questions about your legal rights and options, please call our office today at 1-800-LAW-8825 (800-529-8825) or contact us online. We help clients throughout Southern California, not only in Orange County, but Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties as well.