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Discrimination in the Workplace

Disability Discrimination in the Workplace


Having a disability is never a matter of choice. Yet, many people experience numerous challenges navigating life in the workplace because of the complications their disabilities pose. The good news is that the Americans With Disabilities Act and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act protect individuals with disability against discrimination.

What is Disability Discrimination in the Workplace?

Disability discrimination in the workplace is when an employee is mistreated or disadvantaged due to reasons relating to their disability. In this context, a disability can either be physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory.

How Does California and Nevada Law Protect Workers With Disabilities?

California has two legislations that protect people with disabilities, namely:Disability Discrimination

  • The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

While Nevada only operates under the ADA which generally provides less protection to employees than FEHA—but it provides several protections, nonetheless. Signed in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers with more than 15 employees from discriminating against disabled individuals in the workplace. In addition, the ADA describes the conditions an employee must meet to be classified as disabled.

The FEHA is even more expansive and protects employees that work for employers with 5 or more employees. It provides various remedies to employees and protects them from discriminatory practices. Specifically, it prohibits discrimination in employment and housing opportunities based on an individual’s color, national origin, race, religion, disability, transgender status, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, marital status, age (40 and over), and various other protected characteristics.

Understanding the Duty to Accommodate

Employment laws in California require employers with five or more employees to make accommodations for all their employees with disabilities unless doing so would create an undue hardship. A reasonable accommodation is any adjustment in an employee’s work environment to help employees carry out their essential functions more efficiently.

Examples of reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities include:

  • Making the workplace readily accessible to people with disabilities
  • Providing electrical or mechanical aids
  • Altering work schedules
  • Providing reserved parking
  • Allowing service animals in the workplace
  • Providing leave to allow the individual with a disability or medical condition to seek treatment
  • Ergonomic changes to the work environment

What to Do If Discriminated Against Due to Your Disability

If you believe that your employer discriminated against you due to your disability, consider the following steps:

  • Speak with your employer or supervisor about the issue to hopefully find a solution
  • If there’s no resolution, you may file a complaint with the EEOC or DFEH
  • Next, you should consider hiring a disability discrimination attorney

How a Disability Discrimination Attorney in California Can Help

If you believe that you are being or have been discriminated against based on your disability, a knowledgeable disability discrimination attorney may be able to help. But what exactly does this attorney do? The attorney will evaluate your claim to determine whether it is valid. Not all disability discrimination issues are legally actionable. A skilled and knowledgeable California employment discrimination attorney will take the time to thoroughly evaluate your potential claim and let you know if there is a sufficient basis to move forward with filing a claim and/or pursuing a lawsuit against your current or former employer.

Speak to a Reputable Disability Discrimination Attorney in San Francisco Today

If there is evidence to indicate that you experienced disability discrimination in the workplace or were retaliated against for requesting a reasonable accommodation, contact Melody Rissell Leonard with The Rissell Law Firm in San Francisco today. Melody takes pride in helping clients get great results and works tirelessly on behalf of people who were wronged in the workplace. Contact Melody today to schedule a free, confidential case review.

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