Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Lawyers
There are many different California and federal laws that protect the workplace rights of disabled applicants and employees. These include the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, California and federal leave of absence laws, workers’ compensation, disability benefits statutes, and others. The law’s complicated, there’s no getting around that.
But fortunately, the attorneys at Workplace Rights Law Group know all those laws, understand their complexities, can help answer your questions, explain your rights and options, and, if your rights have been violated, and can help you obtain a full and fair remedy.
What is a “Disability” for purposes of Workplace Discrimination laws?
Sometimes it’s obvious that someone’s “disabled.” They’re in a wheelchair. They’re blind. Or they’ve lost an arm. But some “disabilities” are not so obvious. What if someone suffers periodic migraines? Or an acute sensitivity to certain light, sounds, or smells? What if they have a weak back from an earlier injury? Or have a kind of cancer that’s currently not showing symptoms? Are they disabled, too?
The law broadly defines “disabled” to encompass any physiological disease, disorder, condition, loss or disfigurement that affects one or more bodily systems and limits a major life activity, as well as any mental or psychological disorder or condition that limits a major life activity. Those are vague terms, to be sure. But they protect a lot more employees from workplace mistreatment than most people realize.
If you’ve been mistreated at work because of some physical or mental impairment or limitation, even if you don’t necessarily think of yourself as being “disabled,” you might want to find out if you have rights or remedies under the disability protection laws.
What Is Disability Discrimination in the Workplace?
When an employer treats a job applicant or an employee differently, negatively, because of that applicant/employee’s disability, that’s disability discrimination. An employer cannot fire, refuse to hire, demote, fail to promote, underpay, deny benefits or otherwise mistreat an employee or applicant because they are disabled. The law also says an employer can’t do those sorts of things because an employee or applicant has a history of disability even if they aren’t presently disabled. Nor can an employer mistreat an employee because they incorrectly perceive that employee to be disabled.
It is also disability discrimination for an employer to refuse to reasonably accommodate the known physical or mental disabilities of an employee or applicant, unless no accommodation is reasonably available or to grant the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer and its business. Undue hardship can mean things like: the accommodation is unreasonably difficult for the employer to provide, based on costs, workplace limitations, lack of space or other reasons.
Reasonable accommodation often refers to the employer making a change in the work environment, or in an employee’s duties, all in order to allow the disabled employee the opportunity to perform the essential functions of their job. For example, an employee with a back disability might reasonably request an ergonomic chair or the ability to work either sitting or standing when needed. An employee suffering a lupus flair-up might reasonably request a few weeks off to recover. An employee with a panic disorder might reasonably require a more flexible work schedule in case they suffer an attack in the morning and would otherwise be late to work.
Disabled employees also have other rights. State and federal laws protect disabled persons from being harassed at work because of their disability. Those same laws also may require employers to grant reasonable leaves of absence to disabled workers who need time off because of their disabilities.
What Are My Rights if I Am Discriminated Against Based on a Disability?
If you are discriminated against in the workplace based on your disability, the law provides you with a wide range of potential remedies, from money damages for past or future lost wages and benefits, money damages for emotional distress, punitive damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees, to injunctions and legal orders for your employer to return you to your job, make specific accommodations at work, etc. The best starting point is to contact an experienced attorney to explain your rights and options.
The attorneys at Workplace Rights Law Group have handled scores of workplace disability discrimination cases. We not only understand the legal rights of disabled workers in Los Angeles and Southern California, we care about and know how to protect those rights.
Also, keep this in mind: Employers sometimes lump all disabled employees together and make decisions based on generalizations about what they think such employees can or cannot do. But the law says every disabled worker is an individual, entitled to be treated as an individual, according to their own individual limitations and capabilities. At WRLG we treat everyone as an individual too. We’ll answer your individual questions, explain your individual rights, and, if you’ve been discriminated against, be ready to help you pursue your individual case.
If you think you have might have a disability, or might have been discriminated against because of your disability (or because your employer treated you as being disabled when you weren’t), contact our disability discrimination lawyers to schedule your free consultation and begin the process of solving your problem. Remember: Don’t delay. You need to file any disability claim within no more than one year from the date you were discriminated against in order to protect and preserve your disability discrimination rights.