Santa Monica Disability Discrimination Attorneys

It is a violation of both federal and state law for an employer to discriminate against an employee with a disability. The employment law attorneys of Schwimer Weinstein have a successful history helping people recover damages from disability discrimination. Here’s what you should know about the protections and restrictions offered under federal and California state law.

The American with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The American with Disabilities Act, which passed in 1990, protects victims of unfair employment practices, prohibiting discrimination on the job against workers who are often excluded from gainful employment simply because they are disabled. Under this law, it’s also illegal for an employer to discriminate even when determining promotions, compensation and job training. In addition, the ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to workers with disabilities, so long as it doesn't cause the employer undue hardship.

The ADA Covers employees who:

  • Have a disability such as a physical or mental impairment.
  • Have a history of impairment or a previous disability
  • The employer regards as disabled, even if the employer is wrong, and the employee is not actually disabled.

California Law provides more protection and less restrictions.

Each state protects disabled workers with its own anti-discrimination law. In California it’s called the Fair Housing and Employment Act. As with age discrimination, this broadly written law offers disabled California workers even more protection than the ADA.

Some criteria for meeting the standard of a “disabled worker” is lower in the FEHA than that of the ADA. For example, California workers experiencing discrimination are covered by the FEHA whether or not they are substantially limited in a major life activity. Not so with the ADA.

And, unlike the ADA, the FEHA considers work a major life activity. So, if the employee’s disability limits his or her ability to perform at least one job, the qualifications of the California law have been met.

The FEHA is also less strict in its evaluation requirements. If an evaluation is required to determine the disability, the ADA requires you perform it in a “mitigated state,” which could lessen the disability. So imagine you’re trying to prove disability based on hearing loss. The ADA might require you wear a hearing aid during the audio test. The FEHA, however, doesn’t have a “mitigated state” provision. With the FEHA, discriminatory behavior against even the perception of a disability is illegal.

Are you qualified to do the job?

Before an employee can receive protections under state and federal law, he or she must be able to perform the duties of the job position.

Only qualified workers with disabilities are protected by the ADA. A qualified worker with a disability is someone capable of performing the essential duties of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation by the employer, or tasks that are fundamental to the position. Ancillary duties, such as cleaning during down time, do not count as essential functions.

This prevents employees, whose disability actually keeps them from doing the job, from filing a discrimination lawsuit.

What happens if an employer doesn’t provide reasonable accommodation?

Under anti-discrimination laws, employers are often required to provide accommodation for specific categories of workers. When accommodation is not provided or is provided insufficiently, an employer could be in violation of the law.

To meet reasonable accommodation requirements under the law, and to help a disabled employee to perform duties more effectively, an employer might need to make changes to the workplace or to workplace policy. This includes providing handicap access, modifying job duties or decreasing workload.

In order to receive accommodations, however, a disabled employee must first request it. The requested accommodation must be reasonable and the employer has the right to refuse requests that would cause undue hardship to the business.

Hiring a Santa Monica disability discrimination attorney

If you are a person with a disability and feel you’ve been discriminated against by your employer, please contact the experienced employee rights attorneys at Schwimer Weinstein. Win With Us. Contact Schwimer Weinstein for an initial consultation.

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