Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Claim Attorney
Individuals with physical and mental disabilities are protected under federal and state laws. Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats a qualified individual who has or is perceived to have a disability unfavorably. Employers cannot refuse to provide reasonable accommodations to an employee with a disability or refuse to engage in a good faith interactive process to determine a reasonable accommodation. Disability discrimination can also occur when an employer treats an employee or applicant differently because of a history with a disability. This can occur, for example, if someone is not hired because he or she used to have cancer and is currently in remission. Unfavorable treatment based solely on an individual’s disability is against the law.
It is important to remember that not everyone with a medical condition is protected under the law. In order to gain such protection under federal law, the individual must be qualified for the job and have a disability as defined by the law. Under the law, a person may be considered disabled if he or she has a physical or mental condition that significantly limits a major life activity such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing or learning. A person may also be considered disabled if he or she has a history of a serious medical condition such as cancer in remission or if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory and is going to last more than six months. Medical conditions that result in an active limitation (for example, the need to attend follow-up medical appointments) can also be protected under the law.
Circumstances When Discrimination Occurs
Under federal law, discriminating at the workplace is prohibited when:
- Hiring new employees
- Firing current employees
- Assigning jobs
- Determining wage
- Offering promotions
- Determining layoffs
- Deciding who receives training or fringe benefits
- Making decisions regarding terms of employment
- Harassment and Intimidation
Federal and state law protects job applicants as well as current employees who have a disability. Employers must engage in a timely, good faith interactive process and provide reasonable accommodations for an employee or potential employee with a disability unless that accommodation will result in a significant expense. An employer’s duty to engage in an individualized interactive process begins as soon as he/she has a reason to believe that an employee has a disability. The good faith effort should include an honest discussion with the employee and human resources (if there is one), and should take into account any letters from medical professionals.
Reasonable accommodations may include, for instance, purchasing a ramp to make stairs accessible for wheelchair users or using a sign language interpreter for someone with a hearing impairment. State law also protects individuals associated with individuals with disabilities. For instance, an employer must provide a reasonable accommodation to allow a parent to have a flexible work schedule to care for his disabled child, as long as the parent can perform his essential job functions. Employers must engage in a good faith effort to make these accommodations. As long as an employee can perform the essential job functions, either with or without the accommodation, and the accommodation would not result in an unreasonable financial burden, the employer must provide the accommodation.
Employers can refuse to hire someone with a disability if they can prove that doing so would cause undue hardship. This means that they would not be able to afford to make accommodations necessary to employ the individual and therefore should not have to hire the indivi
It is also illegal to harass an employee or job applicant because of a current disability or past disability. For example, harassment can include offensive remarks about a person’s disability. Generally speaking, isolated incidents cannot become grounds for a lawsuit. But harassment of the individual with a disability is illegal when it is frequent or severe and when it creates a hostile or offensive work environment.
It is illegal when such harassment results in an adverse employment decision such as the victim being fired, demoted or passed up for a deserved promotion. The harasser may be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker or someone who doesn’t work for the employer, but is an outside party such as a vendor, client or customer.
Have You Faced Disability Discrimination?
If you believe that you have been discriminated against, you will have to first prove that you have a serious medical condition or disability and that you are qualified for the job and can perform the essential job functions despite your disability. You will need medical evidence to back up your claim. Employers do not have to hire every job applicant, and they can often terminate employees at will.
However, if employers base these hiring and termination decisions based on a disability, it is discrimination and against the law. If you or a loved one has been subjected to disability discrimination, please contact Strong Advocates to discuss your case. Call (800) 870-9886 to find out how he can help you.