Disability Discrimination Attorneys in Burbank
Quality Representation to Protect Your Rights
I feel like my employer is treating me differently and discriminating against me because I have a disability. Do I have rights?
Yes. A federal law titled Americans with Disabilities Act protects qualified employees who have disabilities and prohibits covered employers from discriminating against or treating their employees differently due to their disabilities. Additionally, in California, employees have even greater rights and protections because of a California law titled the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The protections offered by the Fair Employment and Housing Act are independent of those provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Fair Employment and Housing Act applies to smaller employers and applies even to temporary physical or mental conditions.
What disabilities qualify for protection?
You may have a “qualifying” disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act if you have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of your major life activities, if you have a record of such an impairment, or if you are regarded as having such an impairment. This protection extends to both permanent and temporary disabilities. Of course, there are various factors that go into this consideration and each situation is different. We encourage you to contact our employment law attorneys in Burbank to discuss your specific situation and determine if your condition is a “qualifying disability.” The Akopyan Law Firm provides complimentary case evaluations.
What are my employer’s obligations if I become disabled?
If you become disabled, if your employer believes that you are disabled, or if your employer treats you like you are disabled, then your employer is required to engage in what is called the “interactive process” to determine how to accommodate your disability, and must reasonably accommodate you to the extent that it can. Additionally, if you become disabled, your employer is also prohibited from discriminating against you, treating you differently, retaliating against you, harassing you, or terminating you because of your disability.
How will my employer determine what “reasonable accommodations” I need?
Once you have a “qualifying disability” (or if your employer believes you do), you and your employer must engage in what is known as the “interactive process.” The interactive process is basically an informal process between you and your employer during which the employer has to consider your limitations, and what can be done to accommodate them. The purpose of the “interactive process” is to identify a “reasonable accommodation” that will allow you to perform your job effectively. If your employer believes you are disabled or is informed that you are disabled, it must engage in this informal process with you. It is illegal for an employer to refuse to engage in this informal process.
What types of accommodations must my employer provide to me?
The Fair Employment and Housing Act requires employers to make reasonable accommodation for the known disabilities of applicants and employees to enable them to perform a position’s “essential functions” unless doing so would produce “undue hardship” to the employer’s operations.
A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to the workplace that enables you to perform the “essential functions” of your job. Examples of a reasonable accommodation include: job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, permitting you to take more breaks, reassignment to a vacant position, permitting you to take a leave of absence, permitting you to work from home, etc.
While employers must provide reasonable accommodations, not all accommodation requests must be provided. An employer is not required to provide the requested accommodation if it is unreasonable or would cause an “undue hardship” to the business operations.
While applying for a job, I checked off the box indicating that I have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation. Can my potential employer discriminate against me because of this?
No. Both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act make it illegal for a potential employer to treat you differently or discriminate against you because of a disability during the employment application process.
Can I take a leave of absence because I am suffering a disability?
Yes. In California, there are laws that provide protections to employees for short term or long term disability leave. If you are disabled, your employer is required to accommodate you by allowing you to go out on a disability leave, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation was an undue burden on the business or is unreasonable. The nature, length, and requirements regarding a disability leave vary depending on each circumstance and the type of leave taken. We encourage you to contact our disability discrimination lawyers in Burbank to discuss the types of leave available to you. At the Akopyan Law Firm, we provide complimentary case evaluations so that you can discuss your case with our team.
Can my employer retaliate against me because I am disabled or took a disability leave?
No. The Fair Employment and Housing Act makes it illegal for employers in California to fire, demote, or take any other “adverse employment action” against you for taking a disability leave from work, complaining to your employer about disability discrimination or harassment, opposing disability discrimination or harassment, or filing an administrative or civil complaint regarding your disability.
As a disabled employee, what should I be on the look-out for?
Your rights may have been violated if you were subjected to different treatment, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, or termination because of your disability or because your employer perceived you to be disabled. Such discrimination, harassment, or retaliation can occur at any stage of employment, including the following employment decisions:
- Failure to hire
- Probationary period
- Training opportunities
- Disciplinary actions
- Performance reviews or performance improvement plans
- Failure to provide a reasonable accommodation
- Failure to engage in an interactive process
- Reduction in force
- Forced retirement
If you believe you were discriminated against due to a disability, call the Akopyan Law Firm at (818) 509-9975.