A disability should not prevent an individual from pursuing employment. Most employment positions can be performed with minimal alterations to the schedule, allowing disabled employees to perform their required job tasks. In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was passed to ensure employees and potential employees are not discriminated against based on disabilities.
Riverside Employers Must Make Reasonable Accommodations for Disabled Employees
Employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees and potential employees with disabilities. Some individuals with certain disabilities or conditions cannot perform specific, physically stressful jobs because of limitations caused by their disabilities. If the position would put the individual at risk of being a danger to themselves, their co-workers, or the public, the employer is not required to hire the employer.
Additionally, reasonable accommodations that are too cost-prohibitive, dangerous, or beyond the company’s resources are considered undue hardship. When a company can prove that a specific accommodation would be an undue hardship, the company does not have to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Otherwise, an employer must provide reasonable accommodations. When employers do not allow for reasonable accommodations, the employer or potential employee can pursue a discrimination claim, or lawsuit, against the employer for damages.
Examples of Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable accommodations can include any alterations or modifications to the job application process, interview process, or the job description itself for qualified candidates or employees with disabilities. Common examples of reasonable accommodations include the following:
- Modifying company facilities to allow physically disabled people to use them, such as the addition of ramps, an elevator, or a wheelchair
- Modifying job-related equipment in a similar manner, such as through a headset for an employee’s telephone and lower desks
- Creating a job schedule around the employee’s condition and disability, such as allowing an employee who is dependent on insulin to have more frequent breaks than other employees
- Providing Braille material or readers to blind employees or sign language interpreters to deaf employees
Which Disabilities Qualify for Reasonable Accommodations in Riverside?
When employees who require reasonable accommodations in the workplace must inform prospective employers or employers of their needs through an interactive process. The employee and employer are both responsible for creating a work schedule and environment that allows the employee to perform their job duties. For employees to receive reasonable accommodations, they must be able to prove that the disability is substantially limiting.
Substantially limiting means that the disability prevents them from completing specific tasks that most of the population can do or that they must perform these tasks differently. It may take an employee with a substantially limiting disability more time to perform a task than the average, non-disabled person.
What is Considered a Disability in California?
In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) prevents employers from taking specific action against disabled employees. Holding an employer liable for disability discrimination requires an employee to determine whether they are considered disabled under FEHA. Most physical disabilities, including paraplegia and blindness, are recognized as disabilities. Some mental disorders constitute disabilities, such as anxiety and clinical depression. Mental disabilities that limit a major life activity are considered qualifying disabilities in California, including the following:
- Emotional or mental illnesses
- Bipolar disorder
- Cognitive disabilities
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Clinical depression
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Physical disabilities are included but are not limited to anatomical loss, physiological disease, cosmetic disfigurement, or physiological disease, disorder, or condition that does one or both of the following:
- Affect a body system, such as the neurological or musculoskeletal system, and
- Limits a major life activity
Physical disabilities include deafness, blindness, missing limbs, mobility impairments, cerebral palsy, diabetes, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis. Special education disabilities, including brain injuries, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia, are also considered qualifying disabilities. Additionally, California law protects those with perceived disabilities, including a physical or mental condition that does not have a present disabling effect but may become disabling in the future. Finally, medical conditions, including cancer-related impairments, can qualify under FEHA and the ADA.
Proving an Employer with Notice
Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, an employee must give the employer notice of their disability. As long as your disability was known or should have been known to your employer through a notice from a third-party, observation, or a notice from you, your employer must provide reasonable accommodations that allow you to perform the essential functions of your job. When your employer has been put on notice of your disability, it must provide reasonable accommodations you request as long as they do not constitute an undue hardship.
What if My Employer Refuses to Accommodate My Disability?
Unfortunately, refusal to accommodate a disability occurs frequently. If your boss has refused to accommodate your disability, you may have the right to pursue a lawsuit. Under FEHA, the mere act of requesting a reasonable accommodation is considered a protected activity, and your employer cannot retaliate against you for doing so. You only have a limited amount of time to pursue a claim for disability discrimination.
Generally, you have 180 days from the date of the last discriminatory act to obtain a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After you obtain the letter, you have 90 days to file a lawsuit. One of the best things you can do to protect your legal compensation claim is to discuss your case with a skilled attorney.
Reach Out to a Reasonable Accommodation Attorney in Riverside
If an employer in Riverside, California, has denied you a reasonable accommodation for your disability, you may be entitled to damages. HKM Employment Attorneys has extensive experience representing clients in various employment-related lawsuits. We have an in-depth understanding of California and federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on an employee’s disability. You may be entitled to damages through an employment-based lawsuit against your employer. Do not hesitate to contact HKM Employment Attorneys to schedule an initial consultation.