Orange County Disability Discrimination Lawyer
Both federal and state law recognize the importance of taking active steps to include individuals with disabilities in the workplace. Because of this, both the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) establish obligations employers have to California and Orange County employees and applicants with disabilities. For individuals with physical or mental disabilities, obtaining and maintaining a job can be a challenging undertaking. For this reason, many of these obligations extend to both applicants for employment and employees. Here are some of the most common issues that can arise in the workplace for disabled individuals.
Disability Discrimination Lawyer
It is illegal for a California employer or an Orange County employer to discriminate against applicants or employees based on their disability, whether it is physical or mental, or based on their perceived disability. Federal and California State law also prohibit discrimination against an employee based on their medical condition (generally having to do with cancer) or because of their association with someone who is disabled. A disability is something that impacts an individual’s ability to engage in a major life activity. California law is broader than federal law with respect to disability discrimination, which is beneficial to California and Orange County employees. Essentially, employers are prohibited from taking an adverse employment action against an applicant or employee based on their disability, their perceived disability or their association with a disabled person. This can take many forms such as a refusal to hire, a demotion, a denial of job opportunities or a termination of employment. A perceived disability refers to instances where an employee is not themselves disabled, but the employer believes they are and subjects them to unlawful discrimination based on that perception. Employees can also be subject to disability discrimination because of their relationship with a disabled person, such as a spouse or a child. For example, if an employer believes an employee will need to take time off from work to care for a disabled child and, based on that belief, terminates the employee, that individual may have a claim for associational disability discrimination. If you believe you have suffered from disability discrimination, you should speak with one of our Orange County employment attorney.
Orange County Disability Discrimination Lawyer
Another issue which commonly arises with respect to disabilities in the workplace is the need for a reasonable accommodation. California applicants and employees are entitled to reasonable accommodations in the workplace that enable them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. Reasonable accommodations can range from modifications to an individual’s workstation, work schedule, changes to communication device, providing a leave of absence, or other changes to an individual’s workspace that can afford them the ability to perform their job. Applicants may also be entitled to reasonable accommodations, such as an accommodation that enables them to participate in the application process.
With respect to leaves of absence as a reasonable accommodation, this can result in California or Orange County employees receiving additional time off after exhausting other protected leaves of absence, such as leave of absence under the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) or the California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”). Additionally, if an Orange County employee is not eligible for leave under FMLA or CFRA, a leave of absence as a reasonable accommodation may be the only protected leave available.
There are two key points with respect to reasonable accommodations. First, an accommodation must be reasonable. Second, the accommodation must enable the Orange County employee to perform the essential functions of their job. It is important to understand that not all job functions are essential.
An applicant or employee who believes they are in need of a reasonable accommodation has the duty to notify their employer. They do not have to use any specific magic words, but the Orange County employee must say words that are sufficient to put their employer on notice of their need for a reasonable accommodation. In most instances, applicants or employees should state specifically that they believe they need a reasonable accommodation so there is no question the employer has been put on notice. Once the employer has notice of an applicant or employee’s accommodation need, the employer must engage in a dialogue with the employee, referred to as the interactive process, to try to identify reasonable accommodations that may suffice. This dialogue can go on for a period of time and may, in some instances, require obtaining information regarding functional capacity and restrictions or examples of reasonable accommodations from health care providers which can then be considered in identifying potential reasonable accommodations. The interactive process is a two-way street. Applicants and employees should ensure they are engaging in this process in good faith so as not to be identified as the cause for the breakdown in the dialogue.
If an applicant or employee’s request for a reasonable accommodation are ignored, or the employer causes the breakdown in the interactive process, that disabled individual may have a claim for failure to accommodate and should speak with one of Orange County disability discrimination attorney or reasonable accommodation attorney.
Disability Discrimination Lawyer in Orange County
Oftentimes, after an applicant or employee requests a reasonable accommodation they can face unlawful retaliation. This retaliation can consist of a demotion or the termination of an individual’s employment, and many other forms. If a disabled employee believes they have been subject to retaliation because they requested a reasonable accommodation, they should speak with an experienced employment attorney in Orange County.
California and Orange County applicants and employees who believe they have been subjected to disability discrimination, denied a reasonable accommodation or have suffered retaliation due to a disability should reach out to an experienced Orange County disability discrimination attorney who is well versed in the state and federal laws which come into play in these situations. Ares Law Group, P.C.’s employment attorneys are experienced and proven in this area of the law and available for a free consultation.