Disability AccommodationRights of Disabled Employees
Disabled employees have a right to be provided reasonable accommodations, as guaranteed by both federal and state law. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) generally provides greater protections for disabled employees than does the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA.)
An employer cannot discriminate against an individual with a physical or mental disability or medical condition in connection with that person’s right to:
- Seek employment
- Obtain employment
- Hold employment
Further, FEHA prohibits the harassment of or retaliation against an individual who has opposed discriminatory practices as described under FEHA. Finally, FEHA prohibits harassment of an employee due to his or her disability.
Employers are required by FEHA to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees or applicants. The only exception to this requirement is if by so doing, the employer would be faced with an undue hardship. An employment lawyer in Irvine cites as examples of reasonable accommodations:
- Making the facility accessible for wheelchairs
- Modifying equipment
- Modifying work schedules, including assigning part-time work
- Transferring or reassigning an employee
If a disabled employee is unable to perform the essential functions of the job even with reasonable accommodations, an employer may refuse to hire or terminate that individual. Employers may refuse to hire or may fire an individual if despite providing reasonable accommodations the individual would not be able to perform the essential functions of the job. Additionally, if the health or safety of the individual, or other workers, would be endangered by the individual performing the essential functions of the job in consideration of providing reasonable accommodations, the employer may refuse to hire or may fire the individual.
Employers Covered under FEHA
California employers with five or more employees are required to adhere to FEHA’s dictates. Additionally, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor organizations are within FEHA’s purview.
The ADA has similar provisions as does FEHA, yet applies to employers with 15 or more employees. The basic provision prohibits discrimination regarding hiring and all conditions of employment pertaining to individuals with disabilities.
Seek the Legal Advice of an Employment Attorney in Irvine
If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination based upon a disability, you need to understand your rights. Call Altus Law Firm at 949-346-3391.