What Qualifies as Disability Discrimination in California? 3 Ways to Protect Your Rights as an Employee

December 11, 2023

What Qualifies as Disability Discrimination in California? 3 Ways to Protect Your Rights as an Employee

Disability discrimination is common in the workplace - this might include employees in wheelchairsDisability discrimination at the workplace affects many Californians. Are there ways to help protect yourself?

Disability discrimination occurs when an “employer or other entity treats a qualified employee or applicant unfavorably because of disability”, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC also defines a disability as a person who:

  • Has a physical or mental condition that substantially limits a major life activity (such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, or learning, or operation of a major bodily function, such as brain, musculoskeletal, respiratory, circulatory, or endocrine function). 
  • Has a history of a disability.
  • Is subject to an adverse employment action because of a physical or mental impairment the individual actually has or is perceived to have, except if it is transitory (lasting or expected to last six months or less) and minor.

Despite the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) being established over 30 years ago, disability discrimination is still prominent in the workplace. Employees with disabilities can be discriminated against in a number of ways.

Even before someone is hired, disability discrimination can occur. 

Imagine a situation on a job interview where Rachel is interviewing with Conrad for a job at a retail store. Conrad asks Rachel if she needs any accommodations for a disability.

This question is illegal for Conrad to ask of Rachel. Asking a job applicant to answer disability-related questions, take a medical exam, or identify a disability they may have is against the law.

After an employee is hired, they can be discriminated against in other ways.

The ADA requires all employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations may include providing an aid for an employee who is visually impaired, or creating a wheelchair accessible office. 

Failure to provide reasonable accommodations is in violation of federal law. 

Additionally, disability discrimination may come from your colleagues in the form of harassment. Employees may harass their coworkers by:

  • Making inappropriate comments or jokes regarding a person’s disability
  • Excluding a coworker from activities because of their disability
  • Questioning an employee or coworker about their disability status

Any of the aforementioned tactics can be discriminatory. They can lead to a hostile environment for employees with disabilities. 

Woman uses sign language

As an employee, you have the right to a workplace that is safe and free of disability discrimination. There are ways you can try protecting yourself if you are discriminated against:

  • Documentation: keep emails, text messages, or other written forms of communication that discriminate against you. This can be used as evidence. 
  • Speak out: contact a supervisor, human resources, or an employment agency and let them know about any harassment. Make it clear that something needs to be done to stop any discrimination.
  • Get in touch with an employment lawyer: if you believe you have been discriminated against because of a disability, it might be best to seek the advice of an employment attorney. 

At C&B Law Group, our Los Angeles employment attorneys are here to help you following a disability discrimination case.

Disability discrimination is not right. No one should be discriminated against due to a disability.  

Under federal law, employees with disabilities are a protected class along with:

  • Race/Color 
  • Religion 
  • Sex/gender 
  • Pregnancy
  • Age (over 40)

Don’t let disability discrimination prevent you from having a safe place of employment. Contact C&B Law Group today for help following discrimination. 

We’ve helped clients recover millions of dollars. Specifically, one of our clients in Van Nuys was rewarded over one million dollars for a disability discrimination case.

We help clients all across Los Angeles and Southern California, including areas such as:

  • Burbank
  • Glendale
  • Pasadena
  • North Hollywood
  • Panorama City
  • Encino
  • Orange County
  • Inland Empire
  • More

There are numerous federal and state laws that serve you. It’s important to know your rights and protect yourself.

If you need further help, don’t hesitate to call our team at C&B Law Group today. We will fight for your rights.

Get in contact with us to learn more about a free consultation.

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