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Physical Disability Discrimination

California Lawyers Representing Employees

Disability discrimination occurs when workers are treated differently due to a physical or mental disability. Federal and state laws prohibit this form of workplace discrimination. Workers with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations unless an employer would face undue hardships for providing them. If you were harmed by physical disability discrimination in your workplace, you should discuss your situation with the California disability discrimination lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm.

Physical Disability Discrimination

It is illegal for your employer to discriminate against you based on your physical disability, whether you actually have a disability or it is perceived that you do, even though you do not. Your employer cannot discriminate against you because you have a record of a disability. Both state and federal laws prohibit physical disability discrimination, although they define “disability” differently. Under FEHA, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that restricts a major life function. It might consist of chronic disease, diabetes, limb loss, cancer, HIV/AIDS, impaired vision, impaired hearing, or hepatitis. However, in order to be protected, you must be able to do the essential functions of the job. FEHA applies to employers with at least five employees.

Discrimination could include taking any adverse action against an employee in terms of employment terms or conditions. It might involve termination, failure to hire, failure to provide training, disparate pay, harassment, or a different adverse action against an employee in the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. For example, if your employer will not promote you because you are in a wheelchair, and this is not in line with the image that it wants to promote to its clients, you may have a claim for disability discrimination. 

Your employer also cannot discriminate against you because you need to provide care to someone who has a physical disability. For example, it cannot fail to promote you because your child has cancer.

Reasonable Accommodations for a Disability

Employers need to give employees with disabilities a reasonable accommodation when they are not able to perform essential job tasks because of their disabilities, unless to do so would present an undue hardship. An undue hardship is a substantial difficulty or expense. Factors that may be considered include the cost and nature of the necessary accommodation, the facility’s overall financial resources, and the nature of the operations and workforce. To figure out which accommodation to provide to you as a worker with a disability, your employer should engage in a good-faith interactive process to figure out which reasonable accommodation would permit you to complete the necessary job functions.

Accommodations could include shift changes, schedule modifications, restructuring, assistive equipment, alterations to the workspace, reassignment, changes to training materials, and modification of work policies. For example, if you work for a larger employer and wind up in a wheelchair because of a catastrophic car accident, it might be appropriate for the employer to provide a wheelchair ramp. For another example, if you need to take medications frequently, it might be appropriate for an employer to accommodate you by allowing more frequent rest breaks, during which time you can take your medication. Failing to provide you with a reasonable accommodation under FEHA can be a form of employment discrimination.

The Americans With Disabilities Act

The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits disability discrimination when an employer has at least 15 employees. The definition of a disability under the ADA is more restrictive than under FEHA. Moreover, damages are capped under the ADA. In some situations, however, it may be appropriate to pursue damages under the ADA. You should consult an experienced attorney.

Retain an Experienced California Attorney for Your Discrimination Claim

It can be painful to be judged for one’s physical disability. Moreover, those with physical disabilities may find it more difficult to advance in their jobs or careers. You may be able to recover damages if you face mistreatment in the workplace due to physical disability discrimination. It is important to retain an experienced lawyer. The Nourmand Law Firm represents clients throughout California, including in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, as well as Oakland and Sacramento. Complete our online form or call us at 310-553-3600.

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