Walnut Creek Disability Discrimination Lawyer
An employer may not discriminate against an employee on the basis of their physical or mental disability. The Americans with Disabilities (ADA) is the main federal statute dealing with this type of discrimination. The ADA goes beyond merely requiring employers to refrain from committing discriminatory acts–it also grants employees the right to request “reasonable accommodation” for their disability in the workplace.
If an employer has refused a reasonable accommodation or otherwise discriminated against you based on a disability, you have the right to take legal action. The Walnut Creek disability discrimination lawyers at Venardi Zurada, LLP, are here to help. We can assist you in negotiating a reasonable accommodation with your employer, and failing that, taking legal action with the appropriate state or federal agency.
What Is Considered Disability Discrimination in California?
Like the ADA, California’s own Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects workers from disability discrimination. These laws cover discrimination in all aspects of employment, including but not limited to:
- Refusing to hire or employ someone based on their disability;
- Terminating or demoting an employee based on their disability;
- Refusing to select a disabled employee for a training program;
- Denying benefits to a disabled employee;
- Harassment or creating a hostile work environment for disabled employees; and
- Constructive discharge–i.e., forcing a disabled employee to quit by making their working conditions intolerable.
Disability discrimination often begins during the hiring process. Some employers may try and “screen out” applicants who have an actual or perceived disability. This is illegal. Indeed, employers are not even allowed to ask an employee about any potential disabilities during the interview process. They can only ask questions related to the applicant’s ability to perform specific functions for the job they are seeking.
It is also important to note that the ADA and FEHA cover mental disabilities, not just physical impairments. This includes common conditions such as bipolar disorder, clinical depression, anxiety disorder, and specific learning disabilities. Additionally, an employer can be held liable if it discriminates based on a perceived disability, even if the employee in question does not actually have a qualifying impairment.
An Employer’s Obligation to Provide “Reasonable Accommodations”
The ADA and FEHA require California employers to provide “reasonable accommodation” for any job applicant or employee who cannot perform an “essential function” of their job due to a disability. This does not mean that an employer must grant any requested accommodation. Rather, the law requires the employer to engage in a “timely, good faith interactive process” to determine if an accommodation is necessary. An accommodation can include anything from modifying an employee’s work schedule to providing special equipment or assistance. An employer may deny a reasonable accommodation if it would create an “undue hardship” for the business in terms of difficulty or expense.
Call Venardi Zurada Today to Speak with a Disability Discrimination Attorney
If an employer has denied you a reasonable accommodation, or otherwise discriminated against you on the basis of a real or perceived disability, there are steps you can take to assert your legal rights. The Walnut Creek disability discrimination lawyers at Venardi Zurada, LLP, are here to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.