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Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Attorneys

Los Angeles disability discrimination lawyer

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. In fact, this is one of the most common forms of employment discrimination, especially when the disability is “invisible.”

At King & Siegel LLP, we firmly believe that disability discrimination should never happen. That’s why our Los Angeles disability discrimination attorneys are committed to helping clients 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.

Our Los Angeles disability discrimination lawyers are ready to represent you if you feel that your employer discriminated against you. Schedule a consultation with King & Siegel LLP to speak with attorneys who:

  • Are top law school graduates and have worked at the highest ranked law firms in the United States;
  • Have a proven track record of getting compensation for employees, including over $33 million in class action cases; and
  • Have earned multiple awards including the “Rising Star” title by Super Lawyers. 

If you have been unjustly denied proper accommodations, have lost your job, or have been denied benefits because of a disability, then know that the law is on your side. Keep reading to learn more about disability discrimination law, including what classifies as a workplace disability under the ADA, California, and federal rules and regulations protecting disabled employees, how to identify workplace disability discrimination, and how a disability discrimination attorney can help you. Because being informed is your first line of defense.

I don't have words to thank you the king and Siegel team worked so hard on my case during the pandemic and I am so grateful and proud of my outcome with them. They are reasonable and reliable. Those you can trust .. everytime I had a question they would answer it I recommend them 100 percent.. am so thankful for the team .. my worries and stress are over .. a huge weight over my shoulder was lifted and was able to help my family during this hard time thank you so much king and Siegel team..
Vanessa Ponce
Vanessa Ponce
March 8, 2022
I was really nervous about hiring a lawyer but Julian and everyone in her office made the process as stress-free as it could be. She is kind, reassuring and confident and that helps make the process feel less scary. she also knows what kinds of outcomes are reasonable and will explain in detail why, and has a plan to get there. I cannot recommend her more highly.
Ines Martinez
Ines Martinez
March 8, 2022
I had the pleasure of being represented by this wonderful office and their attorneys! They were very quick about answering any questions and most times explained things so well that my questions were answered before I got the chance to ask them. I had an amazing experience, everyone is kind and very attentive to your wants and needs. A case can be very stressful and they did a great job at keeping me sane and comfortable through the entire process. I recommend them 100%.
Adrianna Sells
Adrianna Sells
October 25, 2021
This in an incredibly professional and responsive firm. There was an ease about getting initial information, scheduling, and working with their talented team. While I found it to be true of everyone that I encountered here, it was Julian Burns King that really went above and beyond. Her expertise, experience, and knowledge of employment law and its many facets coupled with her empathy and compassion for her clients, is truly one of a kind. I would absolutely recommend King & Siegel to anyone in need of legal advice or representation.
Jeri Mares
Jeri Mares
October 12, 2021
Everyone at this firm was so helpful, supportive, and nice. The settlement I got changed my life and working with them was as good as a lawsuit could possibly be. I am so glad I found them for my wrongful termination suit.
Evelyn A
Evelyn A
September 25, 2021
I’m glad I trusted the team of King & Seigel to handle my case they are the definition of professionalism. They were honest and very upfront with the process and kept me informed every step of the way not to mention I’m more than happy with the results. Thank you again to the team of King and Seigel.
Ramon Rodriguez
Ramon Rodriguez
December 9, 2020
Julian & Elliot are very good lawyers and I am glad I trusted them with my case. When I hired attorneys, I didn't know what to look for, but I am glad I found them. They were always attentive to my case and I never felt lost even though I did not have any prior experience with litigation. Ultimately, they got a result I was happy with and I am so glad I had them to help me put this experience behind me. You would be lucky to have them in your corner.
Ryan J
Ryan J
August 5, 2020
I would like to thank this amazing duo and their staff for taking care of my friend and I. They were patient and polite, very prompt, and always professional! Thank you all so much! 💜
Yanni Boo
Yanni Boo
July 15, 2020


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. Disabilities do not need to be “serious” or “obvious” in the eyes of your employer to qualify for legal protections.

Additionally, employees who recently had cancer that is in remission, or any other medical impairment or condition, either temporary or permanent, are entitled to accommodations under the law. The same goes for employees with mental or emotional conditions related to clinically diagnosed anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, depression, postnatal 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)

These laws ensure equal rights for those with disabilities in the workplace. You deserve a fair and safe chance at employment. Contact the Los Angeles disability discrimination attorneys at King & Siegel LLP; we can help you understand your options. Moreover, we can explain your rights and help you better understand what qualifies as a workplace disability.

Understanding ADA: What Qualifies as a Disability in the Workplace?

The ADA does not have a list of covered disabilities. The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The law also protects those with a history or record of such an impairment and anyone perceived by others to have such an impairment. These definitions are construed broadly to protect workers from discrimination.

ADA employment discrimination is prohibited during recruitment, hiring, promotions, training, pay, social activities, and other employment-related activities. The ADA also restricts what questions an employer can ask about an applicant’s disability before making a job offer. Most importantly, the ADA requires employers to grant an employee’s request for reasonable accommodations. 

A reasonable accommodation is any change that enables a person with a disability who is qualified for the job to perform the essential functions of that job and enjoy equal employment opportunities. Accommodations are “reasonable” if they do not cause undue hardship to the company. 

Moreover, employers are only responsible for accommodating “known” disabilities, meaning you should share the general nature of your disability and ask for the accommodations you need to perform your job.

The ADA makes it the employee’s responsibility to alert the employer of their need for accommodation. We have included more examples of reasonable accommodations in the FAQ section below. However, it is also helpful for employers to recognize what qualifies as a disability under the ADA and EEOC.

Recognizing Disabilities: Qualifications Under ADA and EEOC

There are several categories and examples of disabilities that may qualify under the ADA/EEOC rules. Keep in mind that this list of qualifying disabilities is not exhaustive. Speak with our Los Angeles disability discrimination lawyers to see if you qualify if you don’t see your disability listed below.

Also, whether a condition qualifies as a disability depends on the specific impact it has on the employee’s ability to perform major life activities and job-related tasks. Employers and employees must determine the appropriate accommodations that will enable them to perform effectively. Working with reasonable accommodation lawyers may help resolve any disputes during this process.

Mobility Impairments

Physical mobility impairments include those that affect a person’s ability to walk, stand, or use their limbs. These conditions could be due to paralysis, spinal cord injuries, or muscular dystrophy.

Orthopedic disabilities impact the musculoskeletal system. Some of these disabilities include arthritis, back injuries, and limb loss.

Sensory Impairments

Visual impairments can result in blindness, low vision, and other issues with the eyes. Hearing impairments include deafness and significant hearing loss that affects communication.

Neurological Disorders

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder that causes recurrent seizures. You may require accommodation to prevent injury during seizures. 

Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system and can result in various physical and cognitive impairments. 

Psychiatric Disabilities

Mood disorders like depression can affect a person’s ability to concentrate, interact with others, and perform daily tasks. Likewise, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder often impact workplace performance.

Chronic Illnesses

Chronic conditions often require daily monitoring and maintenance. For example, those with diabetes or HIV/AIDs might have strict medication schedules that employers must honor. 

Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune diseases like lupus can cause fatigue, joint pain, and other symptoms that may impact work performance. Similarly, disorders like rheumatoid arthritis affect the joints, leading to pain and reduced mobility.

It’s important to note that whether a condition qualifies as a disability depends on the specific impact it has on the employee’s ability to perform major life activities and job-related tasks. Employers and employees must determine the appropriate accommodations that will enable them to perform effectively.

Working with reasonable accommodation lawyers may help resolve any disputes during this process. An attorney can also help identify workplace disability discrimination, making it easier to stand up for your rights.

Identifying Workplace Disability Discrimination: Common Examples

In 2022, there were 1,338 disability discrimination charges filed against California employers. These made up 5.4% of all disability discrimination charges in the United States. Moreover, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing received nearly 15,000 complaints regarding employment disability discrimination. 

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.

Disability discrimination is a serious violation of employment rights. You deserve the opportunity to stand up against wrongful employment practices. If you need help and are looking for a disability discrimination attorney in Los Angeles, our advocates at King & Siegel LLP can walk you through your rights, assist you in filing a complaint, and work with you to determine other best-course scenarios.

How to File a Complaint for Disability Discrimination in California

The California Civil Rights Department (CCRD)—formerly the Department of Fair Employment and Housing—handles all initial complaints of disability discrimination by employers in California. So the first step in a disability discrimination case is to file a complaint with the CCRD. You can complete and file a complaint intake form online, by mail, or over the phone. 

If the CCRD determines that there is enough evidence, they can file a lawsuit on your behalf. Or you can file a lawsuit yourself. However, it is crucial that you have an experienced disability discrimination attorney on your side so that you can be fully aware of your legal rights and responsibilities. 

How Can a Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Attorney Help Me?

Disability discrimination in Los Angeles is a pressing problem. Studies have shown that individuals with disabilities can face numerous obstacles when attempting to access employment. However, if you have been discriminated against because of your disability, it may be comforting to know that a disability discrimination lawyer can help you get the justice and compensation that you deserve. 

An experienced disability discrimination lawyer will be able to evaluate your case, help you understand your legal rights, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure that your claim meets all statutes of limitation deadlines and complies with the law.

The Statute of Limitations for Disability Discrimination in the Workplace 

While laws like the ADA and FEHA create rights for employees with disabilities, those rights are not unlimited. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the ADA for employers with more than 15 employees. Employees must report ADA discrimination to the EEOC for investigation within 300 days of the disparate treatment. 

On the other hand, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) accepts FEHA discrimination complaints for three years after the alleged harm.  It’s essential to remember that if you do not meet statutorily defined deadlines, you will be barred from filing a claim and asserting or collecting damages.

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Disability Discrimination Lawsuit?

A successful disability discrimination lawsuit can recover compensatory (wage loss and emotional distress) and punitive damages under the ADA or FEHA

The goal of compensatory damages is to restore the injured individual to the same or nearly the same position they would have been if the discrimination had never happened. For example, if you missed out on a promotion, your employer might owe you back pay at the higher rate of pay or reinstatement to the higher role. Damages also might include compensation for emotional damages. In addition, a court might require an employer to change its policies or attend training.

In contrast, punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer and discourage others from similar violations. A jury might award punitive damages if they find that the employer’s conduct was intentional or malicious. Malice means the employer intended to cause injury to the employee or carried on despicable conduct with a willful and conscious disregard for the rights or safety of others. Oppression means dishonorable conduct that subjects an employee to cruel and unjust hardship with conscious disregard for that person’s rights.

With the right legal team by your side, you can recover the full compensatory value of your injuries. However, EEOC rules limit damages by employer size:

  • For employers with 15-100 employees, the limit is $50,000.
  • For employers with 101-200 employees, the limit is $100,000.
  • For employers with 201-500 employees, the limit is $200,000.
  • For employers with more than 500 employees, the limit is $300,000.

Unlike the ADA damages cap, California does not cap damages in cases under the FEHA. Whenever possible, California employees are generally advised to sue under the FEHA.


Who Is Covered Under the Disability Discrimination Laws of California?

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.

Can Employers Ask About an Applicant’s Disability During the Hiring Process?

Generally, no. The ADA prohibits employers from asking about an applicant’s disability or requiring medical examinations until after making a conditional job. However, employers can ask about an applicant’s ability to perform specific job functions.

Can an Employer Refuse to Hire Someone with a Disability If Hiring Them Would Create A Safety Risk?

Employers can refuse to hire someone with a disability if they can show that the individual poses a direct threat to their health or safety or that of others and if this threat cannot be eliminated or reduced through reasonable accommodation.

Can an Employer Refuse to Hire Someone with a Disability If They Believe the Individual Will Require Frequent Absences from Work?

No. The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities based on assumptions or stereotypes about their ability to perform job duties, including concerns about potential absences from work.

Can an Employer Refuse to Hire Someone with a Disability If They Believe the Individual Will Require Extensive Training or Supervision?

No. The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities based on assumptions about the need for extensive training or supervision. Employers must evaluate applicants based on their ability to perform essential job functions, with or without reasonable accommodations.

How Do I Prove Disability Discrimination?

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.

What Is Considered a Reasonable Accommodation in the Workplace?

In California, you have a right to “reasonable accommodations” for a disability if your employer has at least five 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. Of course, an ADA attorney in Los Angeles can always help you assess if an accommodation is reasonable. 

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; and
  • Teleworking.

These are just examples. Accommodations might also depend on what medical providers recommend for you to continue working.

What Is the Interactive Process?

The interactive process aims to allow the employee to explain the barrier in the workplace and what might accommodate them. The employee is most familiar with their disability and knows what type of accommodation will be effective. On the other hand, the employer knows the systems, policies, and practices in place within the organization.

The law usually requires an employee to initiate the accommodation request. While it’s a good idea to document the process, it’s not required for the employee to make a formal request in writing.

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 and requires input from both sides. 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.

Can an Employer Refuse to Provide Accommodations If They Believe the Employee’s Disability Is Not Disclosed or Documented Properly?

No. Employers cannot refuse to provide accommodations based solely on concerns about the adequacy of disclosure or documentation. While employers can request medical documentation to support an accommodation request, they must engage in an interactive process to determine the appropriate accommodations regardless of the documentation an employee provides.

Can an Employer Refuse to Provide Accommodations If They Believe the Employee’s Actions or Negligence Caused Their Disability?

No. Employers cannot refuse to provide accommodations based solely on beliefs about what caused an employee’s disability. The ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities, regardless of the disability’s cause.

Can an Employer Refuse to Provide Accommodations If They Believe the Employee’s Disability Is the Result of Aging?

No. Employers cannot refuse to provide accommodations based solely on beliefs about the employee’s disability, including whether it’s related to aging. 

Can an Employer Retaliate Against an Employee for Requesting Accommodations?

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 ADA attorney in Los Angeles 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 Angeles disability discrimination lawyer as soon as possible.

Can an Employer Require an Employee to Undergo a Medical Examination?

Yes. But only if the examination is job-related and consistent with business necessity. Employers cannot require medical examinations or make disability-related inquiries unrelated to the job.

Can an Employer Ask an Employee to Provide Medical Documentation to Support an Accommodation Request?

Yes. An employer can request medical documentation to support a request for accommodation if the need is not obvious or if the employer reasonably believes the employee’s request is not legitimate.

Can an Employer Disclose an Employee’s Disability to Other Employees?

Generally, no. The ADA requires employers to keep information about an employee’s disability confidential and only disclose it on a need-to-know basis. However, there are limited exceptions, such as when the employee requires accommodation or when disclosing the disability is necessary to protect the employee or others in the workplace.

Can an Employer Refuse to Promote an Employee with a Disability Because They Believe the Employee Is Unable to Handle the Increased Responsibilities?

No. The ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in decisions regarding promotions or advancement opportunities. Employers must evaluate employees based on their ability to perform essential job functions, with or without reasonable accommodations.

What Should I Do If I Was Fired Because of My Disability?

Discrimination cases are based on the facts of your particular situation. If you were fired because of a disability, we recommend that you:

Write out a timeline of the facts leading up to the discrimination;

Write down the names, work titles, and contact information of all people you feel have responsibility; and

Make a list of all people you believe witnessed the events leading to your dismissal.

Other records and proof relating to your employment can be beneficial, like work manuals and policies, paystubs, and work performance reviews. 

Is ADHD a Disability Under California Law?

The law recognizes ADHD as a disability. It is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect attention, focus, and impulse control. However, keep in mind that ADHD is not as noticeable as physical disabilities. You must notify your employer of your ADHD to receive accommodations. 

Can a Company Fire You for ADHD?

No. A company cannot fire you due to your ADHD diagnosis. This would be a form of retaliation since you were fired after disclosing a disability.

Attorney Elliot J. Siegel—Your Disability Discrimination Attorney in Los Angeles

Elliot Siegel, an NYU School of Law graduate, brings a wealth of trial expertise from his tenure at leading litigation firms, where he developed his strategic and aggressive trial skills. Recognizing the critical need for accessible and competent legal representation, Mr. Siegel co-founded King & Siegel in 2018, dedicating his career to advocating for employees and consumers lacking resources to navigate legal challenges.

At King & Siegel, he spearheads the firm’s class action practice and has secured over $33.5 million in employee recoveries, achieving class certification for groups exceeding 1,000 individuals.

Acknowledged as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers annually since co-founding King & Siegel, Mr. Siegel leads disability-related cases, obtaining significant settlements for employees facing wrongful termination, harassment, or discrimination due to their need for accommodations.

Prior successes include contributions to multimillion-dollar commercial cases and pivotal roles in high-profile trials such as Apple v. Samsung.

Contact Our Los Angeles Disability Discrimination


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) 510-3249 to request a free case consultation with King & Siegel LLP. We proudly serve disabled employees across Downtown LA.

Our experienced legal team also handles other types of discrimination cases, including:

When you want the best disability discrimination lawyer, Los Angeles law firm King & Siegel, LLP is here to provide unparalleled expertise, unwavering dedication, and relentless advocacy on your behalf.

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