Protecting your rights in the workplace.

How to File a Disability Discrimination Case in California

California upholds stringent laws to protect individuals from discrimination based on disability in the workplace. If you believe you have faced discrimination due to your disability, understanding the steps to file a discrimination case is essential for seeking justice and enforcing your rights.

Understanding Disability Discrimination

Before initiating legal action, it’s crucial to understand what constitutes disability discrimination. In California, disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats a qualified individual unfavorably due to their disability, which may include failing to provide reasonable accommodations or taking adverse employment actions based on disability.

Documentation and Evidence Gathering

Begin by gathering documentation and evidence to support your case. This may include medical records, emails, performance evaluations, witness statements, and any communication related to your disability and workplace accommodations.

Know Your Rights

Familiarize yourself with California’s disability discrimination laws, including the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which prohibits discrimination based on disability in employment, housing, and public accommodations. Knowing your rights under these laws can help you understand the protections they afford.

Seek Legal Representation

Consider consulting an experienced Los Angeles disability discrimination attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide invaluable guidance, represent your interests, and advocate on your behalf throughout the legal process.

Contact California’s Civil Rights Department

The first step in filing a disability discrimination complaint in California is to contact the Civil Rights Department (CRD). Your attorney can help you file a complaint online, by phone, or in person at a CRD office. Be prepared to provide details about the discrimination you experienced, including dates, names of individuals involved, and any relevant evidence.

Investigation and Mediation

Once you file a complaint with the CRD, they will conduct an investigation into your allegations of disability discrimination. In some cases, the CRD may offer mediation as a voluntary alternative dispute resolution process to resolve the matter informally.

Obtain a Right-to-Sue Notice

If the CRD investigation does not result in a resolution, or if you prefer to pursue legal action independently, you can request a Right-to-Sue Notice. This document grants you the right to file a lawsuit against your employer in court.

File a Lawsuit

With the Right-to-Sue Notice in hand, you can proceed to file a lawsuit against your employer in California state court. Your attorney will draft and file the necessary legal documents, initiate the litigation process, and work to secure a favorable outcome on your behalf.

Common Types of Disability Discrimination

Here are some common types of disability discrimination in the workplace:

Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodations

Employers have a legal obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities to enable them to perform their job duties. Discrimination may occur when employers fail to provide such accommodations or refuse to engage in the interactive process to determine appropriate accommodations.

Harassment Based on Disability

Unwelcome conduct, such as derogatory remarks, insults, or offensive jokes, directed at an individual because of their disability.

Disparate Treatment

When employees with disabilities are treated less favorably than their non-disabled counterparts in similar circumstances. This may include decisions related to hiring, promotions, job assignments, or disciplinary actions based on disability status.


Employers may retaliate against employees for making accommodation requests, such as by demoting, disciplining, or terminating them.

Constructive Discharge

When an employer creates intolerable working conditions to force an employee with a disability to resign.

Recognizing and addressing these and other forms of disability discrimination is essential for fostering a workplace culture that promotes inclusion, diversity, and respect for all employees, regardless of their disability status.