Workplace discrimination against people with disabilities can be subtle, and it can take many forms. It can make staying in your job unbearable. Your rights are protected by law.
Under the law, all employees have a right to fair treatment in the workplace. Your value to the business is supposed to be based on your personal contribution of skills, talents, productivity and other appropriate measures of usefulness to the enterprise. It is unlawful to treat a worker differently than others because she or he needs help with accessibility, such as a ramp, a wider parking space, or one near the building entry.
Below is some information to help you identify subtle acts of discrimination against you and determine whether or not you may be a victim of disability discrimination.
What is Disability Discrimination?
Disability discrimination in the workplace is unequal treatment of a worker based on the individual's mental or physical disability. Workers with disabilities may need certain types of special assistance, such as a widened cubicle. Every employee should have equal access to the workplace and necessary facilities in it.
What Laws Protect California Workers With Disabilities?
If you work in California, and you have a qualifying mental or physical disability, the federal and state laws are very clear on your rights. Both protect your right to fair treatment in your workplace, including:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
- California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Are You A Victim Of Disabilities Discrimination In Your Workplace?
It can be difficult to identify discriminatory actions without the help of a professional who is experienced in fighting for employees' legal rights.
Consider the following questions:
- Did your employer deny your request for special assistance that would allow you to continue working after you became disabled?
- Did your employer warn you not to request accommodation for your disability?
- Has your employer claimed that you cannot work at all, because you have a "temporary total disability", according to your worker's compensation claim evaluation?
- Did your employer tell another employee not to advise you of your right to reasonable accommodation for your disability?
- Did your employer prohibit you from returning to work due to your medical restrictions, or claim that the company has a policy against allowing workers to work with medical restrictions?
- Did your employer threaten you with adverse action if you would not relinquish your right to a disability accommodation previously provided?
- Did your employer claim that accommodating you would cause the business “undue hardship”, without performing a legitimate analysis of the actual potential for impact to the company?
- Did your employer advise you that an accommodation would be considered or provided only if you withdrew your formal request for disability accommodation?
- Does your company enforce a deadline on the length of time employees are permitted to be out on medical leave before their employment is terminated?
- Were you fired because you used all of your work leave allowed by CFRA and FMLA? Did your employer allow a short amount of unpaid additional leave time or other reasonable accommodations that would have allowed you to return to work?
- Has your employer been delaying the process or making it difficult for you to return to your job, apparently waiting for you to become so frustrated that you will quit and move on?
- Has your employer failed to make a timely effort to interact with you, in good faith, to find a reasonable way to provide what you need to allow you to continue working for the company?
What To Do if You Are A Victim Of Disabilities Discrimination
If you believe that an employer has discriminated against you because of your disability, either while you were applying for employment or while you were his or her employee, you should act to protect your rights. Obtain legal advice from an attorney experienced in disabilities discrimination cases.