When someone becomes seriously injured or suffers a debilitating illness, it can impact all facets of their day-to-day life, including or especially their careers. Employers are not supposed to view a disabled employee or applicant differently due to that condition alone, but this ends up being the case more often than not. Even when the employee’s disability does not affect their job at all – such as a leg injury suffered by someone who works at a computer all day – an employer could subtly or obviously begin to treat them negatively or with disruptive “special” attention.
What is Disability Discrimination?
Disability discrimination occurs when an employee or applicant for a job is treated unfavorably or unfairly by an employer because of his or her disability or medical condition, or because he or she has a history of a disability or medical condition. Some employers have good intentions in mind when treating an employee differently, as in they do not want to overwork or stress out the injured employee. However, this is still considered disability discrimination unless the employee specifically asked for the reduced workload or special treatment.
Many other employers in California and elsewhere intentionally discriminate against employees with an illness or disability, though. This is clearly an issue that violates the employee’s rights, but a dishonest employer may try to find ways to circumvent the system and get away with it.
Some negative actions employers use against disabled employees include:
- Terminating their employment
- Demoting injured workers
- Refusing to accommodate their disability
- Forcing unpaid leave-of-absence when unneeded
- Cutting pay
- Reducing benefits
Laws Meant to Stop Disability Discrimination
Disability discrimination is illegal under both California and federal law. In addition to outright saying that disability discrimination, intentional or inadvertent, is illegal, the law also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. This is perhaps the most important statute within these sets of protective laws, as it disallows an employer from simply firing an injured employee and gives a disabled employee a chance to continue pursuing a gainful career. For many people who are injured, going to work and helping out their coworkers is actually remedial.
Reasonable accommodations an employer may need to make for a disabled employee could include:
- Making a wheelchair accessible office space
- Assigning new tasks that do not worsen the employee’s injury
- Providing training for a new job position when necessary
- Allowing extra breaks throughout the day for rest
If you think you have been the victim of disability discrimination in California, it is important to remember your own rights and to take legal action in order to protect them. Workplace discrimination due to a disability can take on many forms, and so it can be difficult to figure out whether or not you have been impacted by discrimination due to your disability or medical condition. To get to the bottom of the issue, consult with our experienced Pasadena personal injury attorneys at KP Law, who are known for dedicating themselves to the fights of employees targeted by their employers' unfair and discriminatory actions. We proudly put ourselves at front lines for our clients, never backing down from a case, no matter the size of the opposition.