This is the second post in our series on the handling of disability discrimination in Santa Ana and elsewhere in Orange County, California. Our last article provided an overview of topics we will be discussing and stressed the need to contact an attorney if you feel your employer has violated your rights. It is important to speak with counsel immediately as you only have a limited amount of time in which you may bring a claim against the company. In this post we will discuss the question of “what constitutes disability discrimination in the workplace?”
Federal and California law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled Orange County employees
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) require that employers make “reasonable accommodations” so that a disabled employee may do their job. Whether an accommodation is “reasonable” will depend on the facts of a given situation and the responsibilities of the employer will be viewed in light of the overall situation rather than in a vacuum. It is important to understand that employers are not required to give the employee an accommodation or form of assistance which the employee specifically requests; they are only required to be reasonable in the accommodations which they offer.
Again, what constitutes a reasonable accommodation will depend on several specifics. Say, hypothetically, that an employee has a diagnosed eye issue which makes them extra sensitive to the glare of a computer screen. The employee may ask the company for a new monitor but the company may simply provide a glare cover for the existing monitor. If the glare cover adequately protects the worker from discomfort, and does not interfere with the worker’s ability to see the screen, then the employer’s actions would likely be reasonable and would not be considered a form of discrimination. If, on the other hand, the employee was unable read the screen through a glare cover and was unable to do their job as a result then the employer’s actions would likely be considered unreasonable. Orange County employees who are unsure of what is reasonable in their given situation should contact our employment law attorneys for assistance.
Santa Ana employers may not fire or refuse to hire an employee on the basis of a disability if accommodations can be made
Employers may not refuse to hire, may not fire, and may not otherwise discriminate against employees on the basis of a disability if reasonable accommodations can be made. Employers are also prohibited from denying pay raises, cutting pay, and more on the basis of disabilities. Again, the key to any situation is to determine whether it is reasonable or unreasonable for the employer to make an accommodation. If the accommodation would be prohibitively expensive then the company’s choice would likely not be seen as discrimination. It is also not discrimination when a company refuses to hire someone because their disability prevents them from doing a particular job; it would, for example, not be discrimination to say that a paralyzed person could not be hired for a job which required heavy lifting.
If you have been denied employment, or otherwise discriminated against on the basis of a disability, then contact our Santa Ana office today to speak with an attorney. Our lawyers also service the Orange County areas of Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Dana Point, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Tustin, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.