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Disability Discrimination

The federal American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) both forbid employers from discriminating against qualified employees on the basis of their disability or a perception that the employee is disabled.  We usually focus on the FEHA because the FEHA is more protective of employees’ rights. 


What counts as a Disability?


In order to qualify as a disability, the physical or mental impairment must limit how the person performs a major life activity (under the ADA however, the physical or mental impairment must “substantially” limit a major life activity). Major life activities include things such as working, seeing, hearing, sleeping, breathing, walking, thinking, learning, and the operation of major bodily functions. In California, an employee is considered disabled even if mitigating measures such as medications reduce the severity of the disabling condition.


Am I a ‘qualified employee’? 


“Qualified Employee” means that although you are disabled when it comes to your job responsibilities, you can still perform your essential job duties if given some extra accommodation.  If you believe that you have a disability but would be able to perform the essential job functions with some help, your employer cannot discriminate against you.  


What is my employer required to do?


Employers must engage in a good faith, timely, interactive process with their employee to determine a possible “reasonable accommodation” and provide the reasonable accommodation.  Essentially, they must meet with you to discuss and consider possible accommodations.  Some examples of reasonable accommodations are wheelchair ramps, a large computer screen for someone with serious vision impairment, or providing necessary time off.


It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an applicant or employee on the basis of a disability when it comes to job offers, promotions, compensation, assignments, job training, layoffs or termination. Employers are forbidden from treating an employee or applicant unfairly because of an actual or perceived disability, or a disability they suffered in the past.  Also, employers cannot discriminate against their employee because the employee needs to provide care for a person suffering from a disability.  Unless providing reasonable accommodation to an employee or applicant with a disability would cause the employer undue hardship, the employer is required by law to provide reasonable accommodation to the employee or applicant.

Medical Condition Discrimination


As with disability, an employer cannot discriminate against a person because of their medical condition or perceived medical condition in any aspect of employment. Employers are required to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee or applicant if it helps the employee perform the essential functions of the job, unless it would cause undue hardship for the employer. Undue hardship is considered significant difficulty or expense.

Call us for a free consultation.


If you are not given the opportunity to take uninterrupted and off-duty meal and rest periods, your employer may be taking advantage of you. Employers who violate California wage and hour laws and who do not pay the rest period premium for missed rest breaks or meal breaks face serious consequences and hefty penalties.   Our office generally works on a contingency-fee basis for these claims and we do not collect fees unless we obtain money for you.  Our Firm will fight tirelessly to protect and defend the rights of every employee to be fully compensated for their work. 


Call the Falchetti Law Firm at (626) 831-9070  or email us here.

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