Yes, if you have been discriminated against at work because of a disability, you can sue. Discrimination against an individual in the workplace is illegal under both federal and California law. Disability discrimination occurs when an employer or potential employer treats a qualified person with a disability who is an employee or a job applicant unfavorably because he or she has a disability, or has a history of disability. If you have been treated adversely in a workplace in the Oakland – San Francisco Bay area because of a disability, you should contact an employment lawyer.
Under California law, disability discrimination claims are covered by the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which is enforced by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The Americans with Disabilities Act is the federal law that prohibits disability discrimination in employment, and it’s enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In order to be considered as medically disabled and to qualify for protection under federal and California law, a person must meet one of three conditions: have a physical or mental condition that substantially impacts a major life activity, have a history of a disability, or have a physical or mental impairment that is not transitory and minor.
By law, there are several ways in which disability discrimination could occur. First, if a disabled person is treated with prejudice in any aspect of employment, including hiring or firing, promotions, pay, benefits, or job assignments, those actions could be considered disability discrimination and is illegal. A second way in which disability discrimination could occur is to harass an employee or a job applicant in the workplace. Harassment includes offensive remarks about the disability, but doesn’t include simple teasing. The harasser could be the employer or supervisor, but could also include co-workers or customers.
Further, the law requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee or a job applicant with a disability. A reasonable accommodation is any change in the job description or employment conditions to help a person with a disability. For example, asking an employer to make some small modifications to a workplace to accommodate a wheelchair or to provide a guide to help a blind person get to his desk could be considered reasonable accommodations. However, if the reasonable accommodation would cause an undue hardship to the employer, the employer does not have to provide the specific accommodation requested. Undue hardship would include changes that are just too difficult or expensive to provide, or that alter the basic nature of the job.
If you have been discriminated against or treated unfairly in your employment situation because of a disability in northern California, including San Francisco, Oakland, Hayward, Fairfield, Tracy, Fremont, Concord or San Jose, call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland disability discrimination attorney at 415-896-1000 or 510-645-1000. She will help you sort through the legal issues on your case and will help you determine the best course of action.