Laws Addressing Disability Discrimination and Accommodations in California

Recognizing the daily challenges faced by individuals living with disabilities, California has implemented various measures to prevent discriminatory practices in workplaces and ensure reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. According to Douglas Han of the Justice Law Corporation, these accommodations are integral components of state laws such as the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the Disabled Persons Act.

Firstly, these laws stipulate that potential employers cannot reject hiring or training individuals based on their disabilities. Qualified disabilities encompass physical disabilities, medical conditions, and mental conditions. Physical disabilities include impairments, impairments of major bodily systems, and conditions limiting major life activities. Medical conditions encompass genetic conditions associated with diseases and health impairments related to cancer. Mental conditions cover various mental illnesses and intellectual/cognitive disabilities, such as autism, clinical depression, and bipolar disorder.

Secondly, these laws obligate employers to provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Douglas Han of the Justice Law Corporation explains, “Examples of accommodation may include modified equipment, work-from-home options, interpreters, job restructuring, and accessibility, among others.” A case in point for reasonable accommodations is making the workplace accessible to employees who use wheelchairs. Failure to provide these accommodations is considered discrimination under California law. Douglas Han of the Justice Law Corporation adds, “Employers must engage in an interactive process to determine reasonable accommodation, and a failure to do so is a standalone actionable claim.”

If you are an individual with a disability facing workplace discrimination, you may have legal recourse against your employer. It’s important to note that you can only file a discrimination complaint after requesting a reasonable accommodation. If the resolution to your request is unsatisfactory, you can file a complaint with either the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) or the CRD (California Civil Rights Department). Seeking guidance from a reputable legal firm before proceeding with your complaint is advisable. Conduct thorough research to assess the legitimacy of your claim before pursuing legal action, as a successful lawsuit can result in substantial settlements for victims of discrimination.

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