If you are a California worker with a qualifying physical or mental disability, you have many different laws on your side. You are protected in certain important ways by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other laws.
However, just because something is written into law doesn’t automatically mean that every company is aware of it or will abide by it. Here are a few questions to ask to learn whether you may possibly be a victim of subtle disability discrimination:
- Has your employer refused to provide reasonable accommodations, claiming that you obviously can’t work at all because your workers’ compensation claim says you have a “temporary total disability”?
- Did your employer fire you because you used up all your leave under the FMLA and CFRA – yet he or she never engaged with you to explore reasonable accommodations, such as a little extra unpaid leave to help you fully recover?
- Did your company set a strict deadline for how long employees are allowed to be gone on leave before they are automatically terminated from their jobs?
- Did your employer refuse to let you return to work with medical restrictions, claiming that the company has an across-the-board policy against restrictions?
- Has your employer failed to engage in a timely, good faith, interactive process to seek reasonable accommodations that would allow you to keep working?
- Is your employer intentionally stalling the process or making your return to work unreasonably difficult in the hopes that you will get frustrated enough to quit?
- Has your employer claimed that it would cause “undue hardship” to accommodate you, when he or she never actually conducted an analysis of the potential impact to the business?
These types of disability discrimination are often difficult to detect or prove without experienced legal help. However, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is on your side, as are many employee rights attorneys.
If you suspect that you have been discriminated against in any way due to your disability – whether during the hiring process or afterward – don’t hesitate to reach out for the legal advice and advocacy you deserve.