Disabled workers are entitled to special protection under California law. Unfortunately, many employers are ignorant of their duties under the law. Moreover, some employers find it easier to simply get rid of injured or disabled employees because they are no longer useful. However, it is unlawful under FEHA for an employer to discriminate against or terminate an employee, or to fail to hire a potential employee, because of physical or mental disability.
The term “disability” is generally defined as a physical or mental disorder or condition which makes achieving major life activities, such as working, difficult.
California employers also have a separate obligation to offer “reasonable accommodations” to disabled employees. Examples of “reasonable accommodation” include leaves of absences, job restructuring, modified work schedules, modification of equipment and/or work stations, and placement in an alternative position.
However, California employers are not required to provide reasonable accommodations if doing so would cause them “undue hardship.”
Furthermore, the law does not prohibit California employers from refusing to hire or discharging an employee with a physical or mental disability when the employee, because of his or her physical or mental disability, is unable to perform the “essential functions” of the job, even with reasonable accommodations, or when the employee cannot perform the job duties in a manner that would not endanger the health and safety of the employee or others.
The law regarding disability discrimination in California can be complicated. If you believe you have been discriminated against by your employer because of disability, please call Hubbs Disability Law for a free consultation at (800) 883-3492 or fill out our contact form.