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Disability Discrimination

Experienced Attorneys Helping Employees Assert Their Rights

Pregnancy DiscriminationIt may be challenging for people with disabilities to negotiate the demands of the workplace. However, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you due to a mental or physical disability. Both federal and California laws prohibit disability discrimination, although generally California law is more protective of disabled employees than federal law is. If you are subject to disability discrimination at your job, you should talk to the Orange County disability discrimination lawyers at the Serendib Law Firm.

Laws Prohibiting Disability Discrimination

The federal law that prohibits disability discrimination is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The California law that prohibits disability discrimination is the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Both laws require a covered employer to provide a reasonable accommodation for a disability, unless providing the accommodation would cause an undue hardship. If you are denied a reasonable accommodation or otherwise mistreated based on your disability, you may be able to file a lawsuit to pursue damages.

The Fair Employment and Housing Act

FEHA prohibits discrimination based on an actual disability. It also prohibits discrimination based on a perceived disability or a history of having a disability of which the employer knows. Under FEHA, employers are also not permitted to discriminate based on a medical condition, whether it is actual or perceived. Additionally, you may be protected under certain circumstances if you take care of a child or parent with a disability. FEHA applies to job applicants and employees when an employer has at least five employees. A disability discrimination attorney in Orange County can help you bring a claim under this law if your employer is covered.

Both physical and mental disabilities count as disabilities under the state law. FEHA states that a disability is a physical or mental impairment that restricts a major life function like working. Examples of disabilities protected under FEHA include arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and cancer, along with psychiatric conditions like bipolar disorder and PTSD.

Disability discrimination can include any adverse employment action, including termination, demotion, failure to hire, failure to promote, disparate pay, reduction in pay, or hostile work environment harassment. For example, if a prospective employer refuses to hire you solely because you are in a wheelchair, and it believes that this would harm its image with customers, you may have a disability discrimination claim. Disability discrimination can also include a failure to provide a reasonable accommodation in situations in which it would not have posed an undue hardship. For example, if you are terminated because you asked for a slightly modified work schedule to accommodate limitations arising out of your cancer, and your employer failed to work with you to find a reasonable accommodation, you should contact an Orange County disability discrimination attorney to pursue a claim.

Reasonable Accommodations Under FEHA

Reasonable accommodations can include any arrangement that allows you to work when you have a disability. The precise nature of your disability will determine what a reasonable accommodation would be. Reasonable accommodations could include increased breaks, a modified work schedule, specialized equipment, time off to attend medical appointments, changes to a workstation, or improved access to the building.

If you let your employer know that you have a disability or a medical condition that requires a reasonable accommodation, your employer should engage in a good-faith interactive discussion with you to figure out which accommodations might allow you to work. This is an informal process. An employer that fails to accommodate an employee or engage in this process can be held liable for disability discrimination under FEHA. Your employer cannot retaliate against you for requesting a reasonable accommodation.

The Americans With Disabilities Act

The ADA has a more restrictive definition of a disability than California law does. Under the ADA, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that substantially restricts one or more important activities. You must be a qualified individual, meaning that you can perform the essential job functions with or without a reasonable accommodation, to bring a lawsuit under the ADA. The ADA applies only to employers with a minimum of 15 employees.

Consult a Knowledgeable Disability Discrimination Lawyer in Orange County

Your employer should not treat you negatively because you have a mental or physical disability or a medical condition. If you believe that you were subject to disability discrimination, you should consult the employment attorneys at the Serendib Law Firm. We represent people in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. Call us at 1-800-LAW-8825 (800-529-8825) or complete our online form.

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"Integrity, competency, and compassion! Dimuth Amaratunga has represented me and counseled me in several matters over the last several years, and each time, I have benefited tremendously from his knowledge, his wisdom and his empathy. He is without a doubt an authority in employment law and personal injury. But most importantly, he has compassion and truly focused on getting the best result for his clients. I am a practicing attorney and I wholeheartedly recommend him and his firm!" David J.