Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Attorneys
Proudly Providing Practical & Effective Legal Guidance
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), “no covered entity shall discriminate against a qualified individual on the basis of disability in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.”Although society has made significant strides regarding the treatment of individuals with disabilities, some employers still discriminate or fail to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities or illnesses.
At King & Siegel LLP, we firmly believe that disability discrimination should never occur, which is why we are committed to helping clients across southern California take action against employers who break anti-discrimination laws. We know that all too often, supervisors and managers only make the most minimal efforts to provide necessary accommodations before eventually terminating or retaliating against employees with disabilities. If you have been unjustly denied proper accommodations, have lost your job, or been denied benefits because of a disability, then know that the law is on your side.
Disability & Accommodation Laws in California
It is illegal to discriminate against an employee due to a physical or mental disability. Employers cannot fire you, demote you, or pay less because of your disability. You cannot control whether you have a disability and you shouldn’t have to worry about your employer using it against you.
The state of California offers broad protections for people with disabilities, as well as those with any disease, condition, anatomical loss, disorder, or disfigurement that substantially limits their ability to easily participate in key life activities, such as talking, walking, seeing, hearing, learning, and most importantly, working.
Additionally, employees who recently had cancer that is in remission, or any other medical impairment or condition, either temporary or permanent, are entitled to fair treatment under the law. The same goes for employees with mental or emotional conditions related to clinically diagnosed anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, depression, post-natal stress, or ADHD.
Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees to let them keep working. The law also bans employers from retaliating against employees for asking for leave or accommodations. If you are discriminated against or denied reasonable accommodations you can sue your employer for damages.
If you have a medical condition, disability, or illness, know that the following laws protect you:
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
- The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- The California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
- The California Kin Care Law and local paid sick leave laws, such as the Los Angeles Paid Sick Leave Ordinance
- The Pregnancy Disability Leave Law (PDLL)
Common Examples of Disability Discrimination in the Workplace
If you have experienced any of the following forms of disability discrimination at work, please reach out to the compassionate Los Angeles disability discrimination attorneys at King & Siegel LLP to discuss all of your options under the law:
- An employer fails to make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s medical condition or disability. This can include restructuring their job duties, creating flexible work arrangements, offering remote work, adjusting to a part-time or modified work schedule, and other similar accommodations.
- Firing a person with a disability because they requested reasonable accommodations from the employer.
- Refusing to grant leave to an employee for a medical need even though they are eligible under the CFRA, FMLA, or FEHA.
- An employer or company refuses to hire an employee who is qualified for a position because of their actual or perceived disability or that of their family members.
- An employer denies an employee a promotion because of their disability.
- A disabled employee is paid less than able-bodied workers.
FAQ: Employee Disability Rights
Question #1: Who is covered under the disability discrimination laws of California?
A: An employee is “disabled” for these laws if their physical disabilities, mental disabilities, medical conditions, or genetic conditions limit “a major life activity.” “Major life activities” include moving around freely, eating, sleeping, working, breathing, etc. The law also protects employees from discrimination based on an employer’s perception that they have a disability, even if the employer is wrong.
Finally, the law protects employees who are associated with disabled individuals. Claims about associational disability discrimination often come up when caretakers are targeted because they have obligations to disabled family members. Or employers might illegally stereotype these workers as less reliable or valuable because they must take care of sick family members.
Question #2: How do I prove disability discrimination?
A: You do not need a “smoking gun” to prove disability discrimination. Few employers will admit they discriminated based on a protected class. An employee can prove discrimination if they were fired, demoted, etc. after disclosing their disability or asking for accommodations. Employees can also prove discrimination by showing that non-disabled employees were treated better.
Although employers rarely admit they are discriminating, they often make comments about employees’ “health,” “reliability,” etc., which can be evidence of discrimination. Comments about other employees “picking up the slack” or other similar comments can also be evidence of discrimination. Lying about an employee’s performance or why they were fired is also evidence of discrimination.
Question #3: What is considered a reasonable accommodation in the workplace?
A: In California, you have a right to “reasonable accommodations” for a disability if your employer has at least 5 employees. Once you request a reasonable accommodation, your employer must engage in the “good faith interactive process” to see if they can accommodate you.
An accommodation is “reasonable” if it is not “undue hardship” to the employer. Whether an accommodation is an “undue hardship” depends on the cost to the employer, the financial resources/size of the employer, and the impact on operations.
Keep in mind that an accommodation can be a “hardship.” It just cannot be too much of a hardship. This means that employers must spend some money and make some effort to accommodate you. Simply because it is a hassle is not enough to stop an employer from accommodating you.
Reasonable accommodations can include:
- Job restructuring, including reassignment of lesser job duties
- Reassignment to temporary light duty
- Modified equipment (lifts, chairs, etc.)
- Modified schedule (flexible schedule, different shift schedule, etc.)
- A short-term leave of absence
- Intermittent (off and on) leave
- Assistive software
- A service animal
These are just examples. Accommodations might also depend on what medical providers recommend for you to continue working.
Question #4: What is the interactive process?
A: Once an employee asks for an accommodation, the employer must promptly meet with the employee to find appropriate accommodations and provide those accommodations if they don’t pose an “undue hardship. The interactive process is ongoing. The employer cannot have one conversation, stop engaging, throw its hands up, and say, “we tried.” That is not enough.
For example, if an employee requests a transfer to a less strenuous position, the employer cannot offer a single position and conceal other positions that become available later. If the employee requests information about equipment, the employer must take steps to find out what equipment is available. “That seems expensive” is not sufficient.
The specific actions an employer must take will vary, but the employer must always try to accommodate the employee in good faith. Not all accommodations will work, but the employer must try to identify something that does.
Although you don’t need a Los Angeles disability discrimination lawyer for the interactive process, it can be helpful to consult with one to make sure you understand your rights.
Question #5: Can an employer retaliate against an employee for requesting accommodations?
A: No. Retaliation is illegal. You cannot be demoted, fired, lose pay/seniority, denied promotions, denied pay raises, denied work assignments, etc. because you requested or used an accommodation.
You should retain an attorney if you are retaliated against. Though illegal, some employers will write up, cut hours, or fire employees after they request accommodations. If this happens, you should talk to a Los Angelis disability discrimination lawyer as soon as possible.
We Are Here to Fiercely Advocate for Your Rights Under the Law
The knowledgeable and skilled legal professionals at King & Siegel LLP firmly believe that all Americans have the right to pursue a career that fulfills their dreams. If you have been refused reasonable accommodation for a disability and it results in difficulty performing your job or retaliation from your employer, then get in touch with our firm in Downtown Los Angeles for immediate support.
Our legal team is prepared to leverage our extensive resources to fight for your rights, so please don’t hesitate to call (213) 214-3757 to request a free case consultation with King & Siegel LLP. We proudly serve disabled employees across Downtown LA.
If you believe you are being discriminated against in the workplace because of a disability, King & Siegel LLP welcomes you to call our legal team today at (213) 214-3757 for a free review of your case.