Living with a disability is already a difficult situation. However, many people also face disability discrimination in the workplace. If you are facing such a problem, then there are a few steps you should take right away. Our Los Angeles disability discrimination attorneys explain these steps below:
Understanding the Laws Against Disability Discrimination in California
There are several sets of California and federal laws, including the Americans With Disability Act (ADA) and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), that were created to protect employees from disability discrimination in the workplace. These laws prohibit employers from discriminating against those with disabilities, including in hiring, promoting, firing and providing a raise.
In addition, these laws require all employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. The ADA applies to all private employers with at least 15 employees. However, the FEHA, which is part of California’s laws, applies to any employer who has five or more employees. These laws are very similar to each other and generally protect:
- Any employee with a disability;
- Any employee with a history of impairment; and
- Any employee whom the employer believes is disabled.
Explaining Your Rights
Under the ADA, a disability is “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Under California law, disability is defined more broadly to include any impairment that makes performance of a major life activity “difficult.”
Regardless of which definition applies, your employer may not fully understand your disability or how it impacts you in the workplace. Therefore, it is imperative that you notify your employer of any limitations that impact your ability to do your job. Clearly ask your employer for any accommodation that you need to be able to do your job. This may require you to schedule a meeting with your employer and explain your situation. You may be surprised to find them receptive and prepared to help.
Filing an Internal Complaint
If your employer refuses to provide you with a reasonable accommodation after disclosing your disability and making a request, then you should consider filing an internal complaint. The complaint may be directed to your human resources department, your supervisor, or pursuant to the terms of the company’s employee handbook. This will give your company an official opportunity to correct the problem. It also guarantees there will be an official record of your complaint.
This often solves the problem and may even force your supervisor to be more helpful in the future. However, if you find your company is still failing to resolve the situation, then you should consult with a Los Angeles disability discrimination lawyer to review your options.
Filing an Official Charge for Disability Discrimination
Before you can file a lawsuit for disability discrimination or failure to accommodate, you must first exhaust your administrative remedies. You can do that by filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – a federal organization – or the Department of Fair Employment and Housing – a California organization. Both of these agencies are designed to make the workplace comfortable for all employees. You can ask these agencies to investigate your claims or to issue you a “Right-to-Sue” letter. You should consult with a Los Angeles disability discrimination lawyer to review your options.
Contact a Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Lawyer
Are you facing disability discrimination in the workplace? You deserve professional defense and support. For assistance and representation, contact Yadegar, Minoofar & Soleymani LLP by calling (310) 499-0140 or filling out an online contact form.