If you live and work in California, you have a disability and your employer also employs a workforce of at least 15 people, you have certain workplace rights, as dictated by the Americans With Disabilities Act of 2010. Essentially, this act makes it illegal for your employer to treat you differently because you have a disability, and it gives you grounds to try to hold your employer accountable, if he or she does so, anyway.
Disability discrimination in the workplace can take on many different forms, some of which are obvious, and some of them, less so.
Examples of workplace disability discrimination
If the tenets of the ADA apply to your workplace, know that your employer cannot consider your disability in any form when making decisions about hiring, firing, promotions, pay, job duties, benefits and so on. Your employer also may not harass you because of your disability in any manner, nor can he or she maintain a workplace that makes it difficult for someone with your disability to get around or perform work.
Additionally, under the terms of the ADA, your employer has a duty to make reasonable accommodations for you on account of your disability. This might include any number of efforts relating to scheduling or job duty restructuring, or it might include modifying work equipment, making current work facilities more accessible, and so on.
Disabled family members
If you work for an employer that must adhere to the terms of the ADA, but it is not you, but a family member, such as a child or spouse, who has a disability, the ADA still applies. For example, a prospective employer may not refuse to hire you because you have a disabled spouse, even if your employer thinks this might mean you will make too many requests for time off to provide care.
As a victim of workplace discrimination, you may be able to pursue back pay, a job reinstatement, or compensatory or punitive damages, among other possible options.