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Wrongful Termination Based on a Physical Disability

Employment Lawyers Assisting California Workers

Employment is at will in California. This gives employees and employers leeway to terminate the employment relationship when it is not working out. However, employers are not permitted to contravene the law when they terminate employment. One of several characteristics that is protected against discrimination is physical disability. Unfortunately, workers with physical disabilities face significant prejudice and uphill battles in the workplace. Employers may not understand the particular limitations that a worker faces, or they may not understand the extent to which their employees are protected against this type of discrimination under state and federal laws. If you received a wrongful termination based on a physical disability, you should call the seasoned California wrongful termination lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm.

Wrongful Termination Based on a Physical Disability

Federal and California laws prohibit discrimination based on an employee’s physical disability. The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects workers when they work for an employer that has at least 15 employees. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) makes it illegal for your employer to fire you because of your physical disability. Our lawyers may be able to sue for damages if you were wrongfully terminated under one of these laws.

For example, if you got into a serious car accident and found yourself paralyzed, your employer could not terminate you because you need to use a wheelchair. For another example, if you have managed to keep a chronic medical condition to yourself, but it becomes physically disabling due to stress, your employer is not allowed to fire you or make you first in line for layoffs because it became aware of the disability.

Sometimes employers are not transparent about the reasons why they are terminating workers’ jobs. They may realize that firing the worker would be illegal and begin to generate negative performance reviews as a pretext for termination. Or they may be disorganized and fail to realize that the employee has a protected disability.

Reasonable Accommodations

Under FEHA, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for job applicants and employees known to have physical disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are changes to how things are done in the workplace so that an employee with disabilities can perform job tasks. An employer does not need to provide the accommodation if doing so would create an undue hardship. However, a minor inconvenience will not constitute an “undue hardship.” Undue hardships are acts that require a company to undergo significant expenses or difficulties.

Each situation is different. However, the employer’s duty to provide the accommodation arises once the employer knows of the disability. The duty can be triggered when an employer realizes that an employee has a physical disability through visual observation or learns of the disability through office gossip or some other means.

Your employer should not terminate you because you requested a reasonable accommodation under FEHA or the ADA. An employer is supposed to engage in a good-faith interactive process with an employee to figure out which changes to the work environment would accommodate their specific needs. In other words, your employer should work to see if there is an alternative that could be provided. Retaliation is prohibited under federal and state laws. If you are fired in close proximity to your request for a reasonable accommodation for your physical disability, the termination may be for illegal reasons.


If we can successfully establish liability in a wrongful termination lawsuit, our lawyers may be able to recover monetary damages to compensate you for your losses. These could include:

  • Lost income and benefits
  • Emotional distress
  • Attorneys’ fees
  • Out-of-pocket expenses for a job search

Under the ADA, these damages are capped based on the size of the employer in question. In most cases, FEHA provides greater protection and recovery to workers terminated for discriminatory reasons than does the ADA.

Consult a Disability Discrimination Lawyer in California

If you believe that you might have suffered a wrongful termination based on a physical disability, you should discuss what happened with the experienced California attorneys at The Nourmand Law Firm. We represent clients in employment law disputes in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, as well as Oakland and Sacramento, among other areas. Complete our online form or call us at 310-553-3600 or 800-700-WAGE (9243).

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