Experiencing Disability Discrimination in the Workplace?
Our Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Attorneys Answer Your Most Pressing Questions
Under California law, a disability is defined as any condition that limits a major life activity. This includes both physical and mental disabilities, including certain medical conditions like cancer or HIV/AIDS. The protections provided to disabled employees in California are often broader than what is provided under federal law. Our Los Angeles disability discrimination attorneys will show you which specific state and federal laws will impact your case.
The attorneys at YMS are experienced and have successfully litigated disability discrimination cases. If you are facing disability discrimination in the workplace, then you need legal representation that takes your situation seriously. Our Los Angeles disability discrimination attorneys have compiled a list of frequently asked questions, along with answers to each question.
Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Lawyers Answer Frequently Asked Questions
- What Is Disability Discrimination?
- How Does the Law Define a Reasonable Accommodation?
- What Is the Legal Process for Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation?
- What Steps Must Be Taken Before I Can Receive a Reasonable Accommodation?
- What Constitutes an Undue Hardship?
- In What Circumstances Can My Employer Refuse to Hire Me Due to My Disability?
What is Disability Discrimination?
Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, any employer with five or more employees is prohibited from engaging in discrimination. An employer commits disability discrimination when it treats a qualified employee or applicant unfavorably due to his or her disability, or perceived disability.
In other words, an employee cannot be treated unfavorably by his or her employer due to a physical or mental disability or a medical or genetic condition. However, to be protected by the disability laws, you must be able to perform the “essential functions” of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation to qualify for disability discrimination protection. You should contact our Los Angeles disability lawyers to determine your essential job functions and to find out to what extent your employer is required to provide you with a reasonable accommodation.
How Does the Law Define a Reasonable Accommodation?
A reasonable accommodation is any change in the work environment to help a person with a disability apply for a job, perform the duties of a job or enjoy the benefits and privileges of employment. The most common examples of reasonable accommodations include:
- Adjusting work schedules
- Amending job duties
- Relocating the work area
- Granting leave for medical care
- Providing technological assistance
What Is the Legal Process for Requesting a Reasonable Accommodation?
Employers must engage in an “interactive process” when an employee or applicant requests a reasonable accommodation. That means an employer must conduct an individual assessment of a disabled employee’s specific circumstances to determine if there is any accommodation available to allow that employee to remain employed by the company. A request for a reasonable accommodation does not have to be in writing. You are allowed to request a reasonable accommodation during a face-to-face meeting or using alternate forms of communication. In fact, an employer might be required to start the interactive process if it knows you are disabled, even if you do not ask for it.
However, our Los Angeles disability discrimination lawyers would suggest that you submit your request for a reasonable accommodation in writing. Having written documentation of your request will protect you if your employer disputes whether or when you requested accommodation.
Click here to view a sample Request for Reasonable Accommodation package provided by the DFEH.
What Steps Must Be Taken Before I Can Receive a Reasonable Accommodation?
An employee has an obligation to contact his or her employer and notify them of the disability. It is important that you make your request for a reasonable accommodation known as soon as possible. Once your disability is known or apparent, your employer is legally required to initiate the interactive process.
Your employer is also required to begin the interactive process in a timely manner and must act in good faith. The interactive process includes an assessment of the job itself and the physical or mental limitations of the individual requesting a reasonable accommodation. In some cases, your employer will request medical information that confirms your disability. They are always required to keep this information confidential and must act in your best interests.
What Constitutes an Undue Hardship?
Your employer can decline a request for a reasonable accommodation if your request imposes an “undue hardship” on the employer. Under California law, an undue hardship is any accommodation that is “unduly extensive, substantial or disruptive.” State and federal courts consider many factors when assessing an accommodation for an employee’s disability. They include:
- The cost of the accommodation
- The economic resources of the employer
- The size of the organization
- The degree of impact the accommodation would have on the organization’s operations.
In What Circumstances Can My Employer Refuse to Hire Me Due to My Disability?
California and Federal law prohibit employers from discriminating against a disabled applicant due to his or her disability. If the disabled applicant cannot perform the essential tasks for the job, then the employer does have the right to hire someone else for the position.
Similarly, many disabled applicants may require a reasonable accommodation in order to meet the demands for the job. If the accommodation imposes an undue hardship, then the employer can refuse to hire that applicant. But, if a reasonable accommodation is available, an employer is required to provide it and not deny the applicant simply because of the disability. A disability discrimination attorney in Los Angeles will help you determine whether your employer can refuse to hire you based on an undue hardship.
Contact Our Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Attorneys Today for Legal Assistance
You should never experience discrimination from an employer due to your disability. If this is the case, then you should retain the services of our Los Angeles disability discrimination attorneys. Contact the Los Angeles employment attorneys at YMS today at (310) 919-0091 for a free initial consultation. You can also contact us online and provide us with information about your case.