Employee Rights No Fees Unless We Win
Disabled employees deserve to be treated fairly in the workplace. While California law provides individuals in the workplace with broad protections against discrimination based on physical or mental disabilities or medical conditions, this in itself does not prevent California employers from discriminating against disabled workers. Illness, medical condition, disease or injury giving rise to a disability can happen to anyone at any time regardless of age or financial status and can stem from a multitude of circumstances. Illness, medical condition, disease or injury can affect almost every aspect of a person’s life. This can create a loss of self-esteem and rob a person of the contentment and social connections to which he or she is accustomed. The last thing a disabled person needs on top of all these problems that come along with a disability is to be discriminated against by their employer because of their disability. If you have been discriminated against because of your disability or medical condition, we can help. The employment lawyers at Kokozian Law Firm are committed to protecting the rights of disabled workers and helping them continue to be contributing members of the workforce. Call or contact us for a free consultation.Are You Disabled?
While one may associate the term “disability” with severe limitations arising at birth or due to a major accident; in fact, disabilities vary widely in form and severity. Disabilities are very common and protections apply from work or job discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) so long as the disability (i) affects a body system (such as immunological) and (ii) limits a major life activity (such as working). Some disabilities are obvious to the outside observer at first glance, while others are not. For example, any medical disorder can constitute a disability, even if its symptoms are often not readily apparent. Co-workers and friends and family of an individual suffering from the medical condition may be unaware of the condition. The important thing to know is that as long as the employer knew or should have known of the disability or even has been notified of the disability, the employer may be liable for disability discrimination if the employer has taken discriminatory actions against the disabled employee because of his or her disability, regardless of the specific disability at issue. Therefore, it is important that you inform your employer of your disability.
An employee may have a Physical Disability for which protections apply not only for tragic situations like losing a limb or having paralysis, but also for much broader medical problems such as diabetes, any temporary physical injury like a back ache, knee injury, neck injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, leg injury, and even communicable diseases such as COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, or influenza. Clearly, the law defines disability broadly. As such, it is best to contact a top employment attorney if you feel that your termination was unlawful or discriminatory.
An employee may have a Mental Disability for which protections apply not only if they suffer from a cognitive disability or autism or a long-term mental disorder such as schizophrenia, but also if they suffer from short-term depression, panic attacks, or anxiety due to problems or stressors arising from work or home.
An employee may have a Medical Condition for which protections apply not only if they have cancer, but also if they have genetic predisposition to develop a disease or disorder, such as women with a gene that statistically leads to breast cancer.
Disability discrimination in the workplace is far more common than many people realize. This is due in part because protections not only apply to workers with disabilities, but may also apply if an employee has a history of having a particular disability or medical condition (such as a speech impediment or cancer) even if they do not presently have that disability or medical condition. Protections may also apply if an employer believes incorrectly that an employee has a particular disability or medical condition when in fact the employee does not have that disability or medical condition. For example, if your employer thinks you have COVID- 19 and discriminates against you based on that belief, the employer may be liable under California law even if you do not have COVID-19. In addition, protections may apply because of your association with a person who has a disability or medical condition. For example, if your employer discriminates against you because your spouse has COVID-19 or refuses to adjust your schedule so you can take your son to dialysis, your employer may be liable under California law for disability discrimination.Has your employer taken action against you in violation of California law?
There are generally three different types of employment disability discrimination cases: (i) when an employer takes action against the employee because of a disability or medical condition; (ii) when an employer fails to reasonably accommodate the employee’s disability or medical condition; and (iii) when an employer fails to engage in a good faith interactive process with the employee to determine whether the employer can reasonably accommodate the employee’s work-related limitations so that the employee can continue to work or return to work after time off for treatment and recovery despite his or her disability.
An employer taking action against the employee because of a disability or medical condition can take many forms, some subtle and some not so subtle. An employer might terminate your employment, or complain about how you used to be easier to cope with, or reduce your hours or pay, or change your schedule, or pass you up for promotion or for a pay raise, or not consider you for another position within the company, or create a work environment where coworkers can ridicule you without facing any consequences for their actions.
So long as the employee has shown that he or she is a “Qualified Individual” who is able to do the job with or without reasonable accommodation, the employer has the duty to reasonably accommodate the employee’s disability or medical condition. For example, the employer may be obligated to offer the employee a reduced work schedule, modify his or her workspace ergonomically, or provide unpaid leave under the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) to allow time for treatment and recovery.
In addition, if upon an employee’s request for reasonable accommodations the employer fails to engage in a timely, good faith interactive process and enter comprehensive discussions with the employee to determine whether task-related limitations arising from the employee’s disability or medical condition can be reasonably accommodated without creating undue hardship to the employer, the employer may be liable for violating California law. When you make a request for reasonable accommodations, if you believe that your employer is discriminating against you because of your disability, this is an opportunity for you to report the discriminatory conduct so that your employer can come into compliance with the law. An employer may also be liable for discriminating against you for requesting reasonable accommodations.Retain the Top Disability Discrimination Lawyer
If your employer terminates your employment or you feel that your employer is otherwise discriminating against you because of your disability or has failed to respond to your complaints of discrimination or has failed to discuss reasonably accommodating your disability, please call us. It is important that you keep a chronology of your communications with your employer and retain all pertinent doctor’s notes and written correspondence with your employer, including letters, emails, and text messages. Moreover, a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) must be filed and the DFEH must issue a “Right To Sue notice” before you can file a lawsuit in a California court of law under FEHA. The issues involved can be complicated, the details are important, and certain deadlines apply. If you feel that you have been discriminated against due to disability feel free to contact the top lawyers at Kokozian Law Firm. You can contact us by calling us or filling out the contact form.