Far too often employees keep their employer in the dark about the employee’s medical condition or disability. Some folks keep quiet because they value their privacy. These folks don’t want to disclose their health condition to anyone – least of all their employer. Other folks stay silent because they are afraid of being fired or “managed out” for being disabled. They are concerned that the employer will try to avoid the burden or inconvenience associated with the disability by taking the easy way out and firing the employee. While these are legitimate concerns, there are many good reasons for an employee to notify his or her employer about his disability. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- The law protects disabled employees. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act and its federal counterpart the Americans with Disabilities Act protect disabled employees. This means that it is illegal for the employer to demote, fire, or otherwise discriminate against an employee simply because the employee is disabled;
- When an employer becomes aware that the employee has a disability or a medical condition, the law requires the employer to engage in a timely, good faith interactive process to identify a reasonable accommodation for the employee’s disability. If there is a way for the employer to reasonably accommodate the disability then it must.
- The record should reflect that the employer is on notice of the disability. Some employers discriminate against disabled employees and later claim that they never even knew that the employee was disabled. To avoid this situation, a disabled employee should notify the employer about the disability – ideally in writing!
Needless to say, every situation is unique and should be analyzed specifically and individually. A disabled employee should consult an employment attorney to find out more about his/her rights. The employment laws are complex and unsettled, and it is critical to have a qualified attorney help you through the process.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is not legal advice. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal advice unless and until it is formally retained, and an attorney-client contract is signed. Each case is unique. The laws may or may not apply to your particular situation. This should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions may have laws and regulations that differ substantially from one another. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal services or practice law outside of the State of California. You should always consult an attorney in your jurisdiction regarding any specific legal issue.