Discriminated Against Because of a Disability?
Los Angeles Disability Discrimination Lawyers Can Stop It
If you suspect disability discrimination in the workplace, you may be able to secure relief under state or federal law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires covered entities, including private employers, to provide reasonable accommodations to the known physical or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual with a disability. This includes both applicants and employees, unless such covered entity demonstrates the accommodation imposes an undue hardship.
How to Prove Disability Discrimination
In order to prove a case of disability discrimination on a unlawful termination claim, an employee must show that:
- His or her employer is subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act
- He or she suffers from a disability within the meaning of the ADA
- He or she could perform the essential function of his or her job with or without reasonable accommodation
- His or her employer discharged him/her because of the disability
Who is a Qualified Individual with a Disability?
For the employee to be eligible to make a claim of disability discrimination under the ADA or the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), he or she must be a “qualified individual with a disability.” This means that he or she must be able to do the job. For instance, a person with no hands would not be qualified to be a typist. (However, see below discussion on “reasonable accommodation.”) If the employer did not give him or her the job, it would not be discrimination. In this case, the person simply is not qualified.
“With a disability” means that the worker is actually disabled. For an injury, disease or their ailment to be a “disability” under the law, it must “substantially limit one or more major life activities.” A mere annoyance is not enough. The disability must actually interfere with a person’s life.
In determining whether or not a person actually has a disability, the courts pay close attention to whether or not the ailment affects the person’s job and ability to earn a living. So, even if the disability does not affect most areas of life, if it affects the person’s employment, the courts are more likely to consider it a disability.
What is a Perceived Disability?
You cannot discriminate against a person you perceive to have a disability; that is illegal. If the employee is not disabled, but the employer believes he is and discriminated against him, that is also illegal.
In this circumstance, it is not necessary to determine if the employee is a “qualified individual” with a disability. However, the court may consider whether or not the person would have been a qualified individual if he or she actually had the disability that the employer perceived him to have. The law is not entirely clear on this issue.
Reasonable Accommodation for an Employee with a Disability
Reasonable accommodation is the idea that even if a person is disabled, and even if that disability may make it seem like he or she cannot do a job, the employer must consider whether or not a “reasonable accommodation” can be made. A “reasonable accommodation” is when the employer modifies the job duties, provides some extra help or takes some other measure to ensure that the person can still do the job.
For instance, say a person in a wheelchair wants a job in an office that is on the second floor. There are no elevators in the building. To accommodate the worker, the employer could install an elevator… but is that a “reasonable accommodation?” Is it reasonable to expect the employer to spend that kind of money? Probably not, particularly if it is just one small business.
But there might be other possibilities. Perhaps the potential employee’s job is really just talking on the telephone, selling products. Maybe the job can be done from home, and there is no need to even be in the office. Is it reasonable to ask the employer to let the person work at home? It may be.
Schedule a Free Attorney Consultation for Disability Discrimination in the Workplace
Employees have to ask for reasonable accommodations. Once they do, the employer has the right to consider the requests and make counter-offers that the employer might see as more reasonable. If the employer and employee cannot agree, then the employee might want to consider bringing a disability discrimination case. However, to win, the judge or jury will have to find that the employee’s request was reasonable, or that the employer’s counter-offers were not sufficient.
If you suspect workplace discrimination, contact discrimination lawyers at our law firm to set up a consultation. We help victims who suffer discrimination at work, including disability discrimination. When you call our law firm, we can give you more information about your rights under disability discrimination laws.