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Medical Condition Discrimination

Employment Attorneys Guiding Disabled Los Angeles Residents Through Litigation Man being checked by doctor

Both federal and state laws prohibit disability discrimination, and to some extent, both also prohibit medical condition discrimination and harassment. Medical condition discrimination occurs when an employee is treated differently from other employees due to a medical condition. If you have a medical condition, your employer may have an obligation to provide reasonable accommodations so that you can perform your job. At The Nourmand Law Firm, APC, our Los Angeles disability discrimination lawyers provide knowledgeable legal representation to employees faced with medical condition discrimination and harassment.

Medical Condition Discrimination and Harassment

The Fair Employment and Housing Act of 1959 (FEHA) is a state law that prohibits medical condition discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of a medical condition can include any adverse employment action, including failure to hire, termination, failure to promote, paying an employee less than other similar employees and permitting harassment in the workplace.

Under FEHA, California employers that have at least five employees are not allowed to discriminate against an employee based on his or her medical condition, among other protected characteristics. FEHA is enforced by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The DFEH’s regulations are designed to make sure that individuals with medical conditions have access to the same employment opportunities as those without medical conditions.

FEHA defines a medical condition as any health impairment related to cancer or a record of having cancer or genetic characteristics that are determined to be associated with an increased risk of developing a disorder or disease. Medical conditions can also overlap with physical or mental disabilities, such as bipolar disorder, clinical depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, dementia, chronic diseases, and HIV/AIDS.

Your attorney will need to show that you suffered from a medical condition, and you were subjected to an adverse employment action due to the medical condition. Under FEHA, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you (including by terminating you or permitting harassment against you) based on your medical condition unless the medical condition stops you from performing essential job duties even with reasonable accommodations. Your ability to perform essential job functions is crucial to a prima facie case of medical condition discrimination.

Reasonable accommodations are any modifications or adjustments to the workplace that allow an employee to perform the essential job functions. Reasonable accommodations can include a modified work schedule, reassignment to a vacant position, assistive aids and services, and added pieces of training. In some cases, granting a medical leave and holding the job open for an employee who needs time to recuperate is an appropriate reasonable accommodation. However, employers are not required to provide an accommodation that is likely to be futile in situations in which an employee cannot safely and efficiently perform the essential job functions. Every situation is different, and whether a reasonable accommodation is appropriate can depend on the individualized circumstances of a particular employee and employer. Generally, FEHA does not require an employer to wait indefinitely for your condition to improve or to provide repeated leaves for you if you have a poor prognosis for recovery.

If your employer has at least 15 employees, you may be protected against medical condition discrimination by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The critical issue in this situation will be whether your medical condition meets the ADA definition of a covered disability. The ADA prohibits discrimination against job applicants and employees who meet the law’s definition of a qualified person with a disability, including a physical or mental impairment that substantially restricts one or more of the major life activities of such an individual, a record of this type of impairment, or being regarded as having this type of impairment. By law, if you have a medical condition that counts as a disability, you can seek a reasonable accommodation. An employer is supposed to provide a reasonable accommodation unless doing so would pose an undue hardship.

Consult a Skilled Disability Discrimination Attorney in Los Angeles

If you have faced on-the-job medical condition discrimination or harassment, The Nourmand Law Firm, APC, may be able to represent you. Our Los Angeles lawyers provide aggressive legal representation to disabled employees in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Palm Springs, Beverly Hills, Van Nuys, Santa Ana, Newport Beach and other cities in San Diego, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange Counties. Call us at 323-895-7800 or contact us through our online form.

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