Discrimination involves job decisions – such as hiring, firing, and setting work conditions – that are conducted in a discriminatory manner. California employment discrimination law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on:
- Race, color or ethnicity
- National origin and ancestry
- Age (40 and over)
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity, gender expression
- Pregnancy (including childbirth, breastfeeding)
- Disability and medical condition, mental and physical
- Marital status
California employment discrimination law also prohibits employers from discriminating because of the employer’s perception that the worker has a protected trait or because the worker has associated with or advocated for coworkers who have these protected traits.
Employers that commit or fail to address discrimination in the workplace may be held accountable by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
If you believe you have faced discrimination in the workplace due to your race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, disability, or age, our team can help you assess your legal options and determine the best course forward. We represent employees in DFEH and EEOC complaints and in discrimination lawsuits.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
How Does the ADA Define ‘Disability’?
Disability Discrimination in California Workplaces
Discrimination against people with disabilities occurs whenever an employer or potential employer treats you differently because of a disability. Disability cannot be a reason for a potential employer to deny your application if you are applying for a job you are capable of doing. A potential employer can, however, deny your application if you do not meet the qualifications for the job. As an employee or applicant, you also have the right to reasonable accommodations so long as they do not cause undue hardship for the employer.
Disability Discrimination in Real Work Situations
Often, people think disability discrimination only involves people not being hired or being fired because of their disability. But there are many more aspects to what may constitute disability discrimination. An employer may not base the following on your disability:
- Job assignments
There is some protection for employers in that they are permitted to ask medical questions and require the applicant to submit to a medical examination. Applicants may be required to pass such a test in order to obtain employment. There must, however, be the same questions and/or exam given to all new applicants.
Harassment & Disability Discrimination
In addition, employers cannot harass employees because of their disabilities. Employees who complain about harassment cannot be fired or demoted by their employers. While isolated incidents of minor teasing may not be actionable, ongoing negative remarks about a disability to the point where it results in a hostile work environment is illegal. Employees can be harassed by their co-workers, supervisors, managers, clients, or customers.
Reasonable Accommodation for Employees with Disabilities
Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation to make the disabled employee’s task easier as long as the change is not financially prohibitive. Examples of reasonable accommodation include:
- Ensuring access to existing facilities (e.g. ramps and automatic doors for wheelchair users)
- Restructuring of jobs
- Adapting equipment, exams, or training materials
- Changing work schedules
- Offering qualified readers or interpreters for the visually and hearing impaired
For a change to be considered undue hardship, the accommodation would have to be too expensive in comparison to the size and financial resources of the company. Employers may choose a different accommodation from what the employee requests as long as it gives the employee what they need to work.
Our California Disability Discrimination Lawyers Will Fight For You
You can turn to our attorneys at Valerian Law if you believe that you have been discriminated against because of your disability. Situations like yours can be upsetting and unfair, and we want to fight for the compensation and justice you deserve. If you are a victim of disability discrimination in California, contact us at 888-686-1918 to speak with one of our experienced California employment attorneys.