Everyone deserves the necessary support that comes with a safe work environment. Many Americans struggle with disabilities. Fortunately, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects them in the workplace and elsewhere. However, many disabled Americans who can work to support themselves still face workplace discrimination. They are sometimes denied reasonable accommodations, among other things. These employees are often unaware that they can take legal measures to defend their rights.
Employees often believe that filing a disability discrimination claim against their employer is easy. Unfortunately, many employers will deny that discrimination took place. Anti-discrimination laws are complex and may be hard for many employees to understand. When you have been wronged by your employer, you want to take full advantage of your legal options. Hiring legal counsel is essential.
When you file a claim against your employer, you want a seasoned Santa Monica employment discrimination attorney who has experience with many disability discrimination claims. The Law Offices of Miquel S. Ramirez has 20 years of experience with employment law cases. Our individualized legal counsel can make it more likely that you will see compensation at the end of your claim.
At work, employers are legally obligated and expected to provide any reasonable accommodations required for the employee to perform their job.
If an employee fails to provide a reasonable accommodation within a reasonable timeframe, that is disability discrimination. Disability discrimination may also come in the form of hiring discrimination. Employers cannot discriminate against people with disabilities who can perform their job duties with reasonable accommodations. This is the case during the hiring process or when they are an employee.
American employees have legal protections against discrimination. Unfortunately, discrimination is still common in the workplace.
Many employees are surprised at how broad the legal disability protections are. Disability discrimination does, however, only apply when a person can perform the job with only reasonable accommodations. If a disability prevents you from doing a job that is necessary for your employment position, then you are not qualified for that job.
California disability law offers protections for:
Discrimination may also violate federal law in addition to state law.
It is possible to file a claim against your employer without an attorney. However, it can be more difficult and is less likely to be successful. If your claim is successful, you may recover damages for lost income, emotional distress, and backpay. A successful claim may also prevent your employer from engaging in discriminatory behavior toward you and their employees in the future. The penalties for violating the ADA are strict. An employer is less likely to continue their actions after dealing with liability from a claim.
Both state and federal laws apply concerning disability discrimination. Depending on the type of discrimination you faced, you may have to file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a state agency, or both. This process is much simpler with legal counsel. An employment discrimination lawyer has worked on cases similar to yours and knows the best course of action. They can also help you draft your filings and claims. This can maximize the compensation for your claim.
California is an at-will state, which means that both employers and employees can terminate employment without cause. Some people believe that this means employers can fire you for any reason. However, employers are not allowed to fire employees for illegal reasons, including discrimination.
Promotions, demotions, and the hiring process are also protected under the ADA. If these choices are made based on your level of disability, your employer has violated the ADA. Scenarios that are considered disability discrimination include:
If your employer is refusing to provide accommodations, or you are experiencing another scenario, you should speak with a disability discrimination attorney.
Depending on the disability, a reasonable accommodation may include:
Reasonable accommodations must be made for employees unless they impose “undue hardship” on the employer.
For a disability discrimination claim to be successful, you must provide evidence of its occurrence. You must show that your employer had knowledge of your condition or disability and made an illegal decision regarding your employment based on that knowledge. Then, you must provide proof of this illegal decision, whether it be a failure to provide accommodation, a failure to engage with the interactive process, or another example of disability discrimination. Your attorney can help you determine what proof is necessary and how to obtain it.
Employees will often stay silent about their disability discrimination experiences out of fear that an employer will retaliate against them. Retaliation may include:
You have the legal right to file a claim against discrimination. An employment discrimination attorney can work with you to protect you from retaliation.
Proof of your disability most often comes from medical and healthcare records and healthcare provider testimony. If your claim is based on a perceived disability, it may be more difficult. It must be shown with proof of employer statements or conduct regarding this perceived disability.
Proving discrimination based on disability depends on the circumstances of your claim. It may require internal communications or overheard conversations by your coworkers. Past and present employees may have had experiences similar to yours. They may corroborate the discrimination you faced.
The burden of proof in disability discrimination claims is on the claimant, or the person who faced the discrimination and is filing for damages. You must prove that you have a disability or a perceived disability and are qualified for your job while accepting reasonable accommodations. You must also prove that the decision to fire, demote, or fail to hire was made because of your disability. An experienced attorney can help you find the necessary proof through medical information, internal communication, coworker testimony, and other sources.
Disability discrimination is most common in the workplace. It may include failing to hire, demoting, or firing someone based on their disability. It may also take the form of failing to provide reasonable accommodations that allow someone to perform their job duties. Reasonable accommodations may include:
Disability discrimination may also be a failure to engage with the interactive process. This is how the employee and employer communicate regarding a reasonable accommodation.
If you file your claim with the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) in the state of California, the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the violation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the ADA. Filing with them must be done within 180 days from the date of discrimination. If the act of discrimination violates state laws in addition to federal laws, you have 300 days.
Dealing with disability discrimination can be overwhelming and make you dread going to work. Working with a qualified attorney can help relieve your anxiety and provide you with your best chance at compensation for the harm done to you. Contact the Law Offices of Miguel S. Ramirez today when you need an experienced disability discrimination attorney in Santa Monica.