As a worker with a disability, there may be certain aspects of a position that you find difficult, even if you are otherwise fully qualified to be in that position. Whether your disability is physical or mental, you have the right to pursue a reasonable accommodation from your employer to aid you in accomplishing job tasks. If your employer refuses to consider finding a reasonable accommodation, or otherwise treats you unfairly due to your disability, you may have grounds for a disability discrimination claim.
The Law Offices of Miguel S. Ramirez focuses on employment law, protecting Californians who have been discriminated against in the workplace. We believe that every employee should be treated with dignity and respect and can diligently work to ensure that you are appropriately compensated if your employer fails in that regard. With prior experience working for large corporations, our attorney uses that knowledge to support our current clients: the employees.
Disability protections extend through every step of the employment process, including hiring, job assignments, promotions, training, and other job benefits. One of the major responsibilities of the employer is a duty to provide reasonable accommodations to employees who are qualified for the position. This does not necessarily mean that the employer must implement the employee’s preferred accommodation but one that is reasonable for the workplace. The accommodation cannot place undue hardship on the employer.
Once the employer has been made aware of the disability, the employee and employer must engage in a good-faith interactive process to consider potential accommodations. The employer can request a medical certification of the disability and may interact with the medical professionals behind the diagnosis to discuss potential accommodations. This accommodation information must be combined with what the employer could reasonably provide based on their capabilities. It is important to note that an employer can remove an employee from a position if your disability can cause health risks to other employees. The risks to others must not be speculative, but legitimate. For example, those with epilepsy that experience seizures can be legally precluded from operating trains, buses, etc. due to health concerns.
If there is a breakdown during the accommodation process, the courts will consider which party is responsible for the breakdown. If the employer refuses to engage in the process, it will only strengthen the case against them for disability discrimination. An employee who hinders the process has no right to recovery, so it is important to thoroughly document your participation.
A reasonable accommodation is any measure or arrangement that would permit an applicant or employee with a disability to perform essential job functions. Examples of accommodations that are generally considered reasonable include:
A reasonable accommodation cannot place undue hardship on the employer. This standard will be based on factors of the specific company, such as the economic capacity and size of the employer, the cost of the accommodation, and the disruption the accommodation could cause.
Per FEHA, any retaliatory actions taken by your employer against you for taking legal actions, like requesting a reasonable accommodation or filing a disability discrimination claim, are illegal.
Examples of retaliation include:
Regardless of the discrimination’s form, it is harmful and against the law. If you have not already spoken with an attorney about the failure to accommodate discrimination that you have received from your workplace, it will likely be beneficial to speak with one if you are then retaliated against. Navigating both a disability discrimination claim and a retaliation claim can feel overwhelming, so speaking with an attorney can be a valuable source of support.
A: The interactive process is between the employer and employee and must be started shortly after the employer has been made aware of the employee’s disability. This step is important because it begins the working relationship to find an accommodation that is both functional for the employee and feasible for the employer. This step can also help the employee feel out how willing their employee will be with finding a reasonable accommodation.
A: To win a failure to accommodate claim against your employer or potential employer, you need to show that you have a disability covered under the law and that you are capable of performing the job functions essential to the position. You must then show that your employer failed to engage in the interactive process or failed to provide a reasonable accommodation.
A: There are three types of disability: physical, mental, and perceived. A physical disability affects the way your body performs. A mental disability is one that affects your brain chemistry and prevents you from performing. A perceived disability is one that your employer believes you have, even if you do not. A perceived disability is protected in the same way as an actual disability.
A: You do not need an attorney to file a claim stating that your employer failed to accommodate your disability, but they can be a valuable resource. An attorney can help you determine if you have a case and what evidence you need to support your claim. They can also tell you what potential damages you could receive if you win. An attorney can also ensure that you are not taken advantage of if your employer offers a settlement.
The Law Offices of Miguel S. Ramirez understands that you may be feeling uncertain as you begin a disability discrimination claim. Our team is ready to help you through this challenging time, providing insight and knowledge into your situation and methods to successfully file your claim. Reach out to our office today for a consultation.