California employers are legally prohibited from discriminating against you on account of a physical disability, disorder, handicap, or condition. Your employer cannot take an adverse employment action against you based on a physical disability. Unlawful adverse actions include refusal to hire, wrongful termination, barring access to a training program that can lead to employment, discrimination in compensation or the denial of certain privileges and benefits of employment.
As a California employee, you are protected from discrimination on the basis of a disability, even if your employer does not have concrete evidence of your disability. If your employer “perceives” you as having a disability, and discriminates against you, your employer can still face liability. Employers who discriminate against disabled employees face civil liability and may incur severe penalties.What is a Physical Disability?
The definition of a physical disability is all-encompassing. In essence, it is any physiological condition, cosmetic disfigurement, disease, disorder, or loss or diminution of anatomical function of any of the following:
- special sense organs,
- speech organs
Any disorder that limits a “major life activity” will qualify as a disability under FEHA. It does not, however, include compulsions like gambling, stealing (kleptomania), drug addiction (from unlawful use of controlled substances or other narcotics or drugs), pyromania or sex addiction.1“Protected” medical disabilities or physical conditions include, but are not limited to:
Allergies, Asthma, Arthritis, Back conditions, Bidactyly, Blindness, Brain seizures, Cholera, Color Blindness, Crohn's Disease, Deafness, Cystic fibrosis, Diabetes, Emphysema, Fibromyalgia, Foot surgery, Hand surgery, Heart Disease, Headaches, High blood pressure, Histiocytosis, HIV Huntington Disease, Injury (Ankle, Eye, Foot, Jaw, Leg, Neck, Shoulder, Wrist, Hand, Hip) Hypertension, Hypersensitivity to Tobacco, Injuries which require surgery (e.g., back surgery, eye surgery, head surgery, shoulder surgery), Hysterectomy, Inculinoma, Lung carcinoma, Lymphoma, Multiple Sclerosis, Neck Surgery, Polycystic kidney, Obesity, Osteoporosis, Paralysis Parkinson Disease, Severe Migraines, Severe Pain, Scoliosis, Sickle Cell Anemia, Spinal muscular atrophy, Tuberculous sclerosis, Ulcers, and more.Employee Must Still Be Able to Carry Out Essential Work Duties
In order for a California employee to bring about a successful physical disability discrimination claim, the employee must have been able to perform his or her essential work duties under reasonable accommodation for his or her disability.
Essential duties are those which are part and parcel of the job position. This does not include marginal job duties, but, rather, functions that are integral to the position of employment. California employers are legally required to make reasonable accommodations for a known mental or physical handicap or disability.Reasonable Accommodations:
A California employer must make reasonable accommodations for his or her employee who has a known physical or mental disability or risk civil liability under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
A California employer who is aware of an employee’s disability is under an affirmative duty to advise his or her employee that there are other suitable job opportunities with said employer. The employer must also try to determine whether the employee is qualified or has interest in those positions.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of reasonable accommodation California employers can make to their disabled employees:
- offer the disabled employee a job position for which there is a vacancy
- modify the job schedule to accommodate the employee
- modify the work environment (such as premises infrastructure) as needed
- modify equipment or materials so they are more readily usable for employee
- provide interpreter or qualified reader
- make adjustments for examinations
- allow employee time to convalesce or heal by giving him or her periodic breaks or temporary leave of absence
If you believe your employer has discriminated you or failed to accommodate you for your medical condition or physical disability, contact our disability discrimination attorneys in Los Angeles, Los Angeles disability discrimination lawyers immediately. We have a Spanish-speaking staff and offer free consultations.
We represent clients whose employers discriminated against them on the basis of a physical disability in Los Angeles, Koreatown, Pasadena, San Bernardino, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, the South Bay and all other Southern California cities and locations.