Defend Your Rights with a Disability Discrimination Lawyer

Going through life with a disability is challenging enough on its own. When you experience discrimination from potential or current employers, your disability begins to affect your financial stability.

You have a right to reasonable accommodations for your disability under State and Federal law.. If a potential or current employer fails to provide you a reasonable accommodation, refuses to hire you because of your disability, or fires you because of your disability or need for an accommodation, you may have grounds for a discrimination lawsuit.

At Kent | Pincin, our disability discrimination lawyers are committed to helping you hold your employer accountable for discriminatory behavior. We have extensive experience navigating employment law cases throughout the greater Southern, California area, as well as state-wide,and we'll put our experience to work to protect your rights.

Contact us today at (310) 376-0922 to schedule your consultation with Kent | Pincin, your California discrimination disability lawyer.

What Is the Disability Discrimination Law in California?

California has several laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace. 

  • The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on a person's disability or perceived disability.
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person's mental or physical disability.

If you have a physical or mental impairment, these laws protect you against discrimination and allow you access to reasonable accommodations within the workplace. If an employer or potential employer has discriminated against you due to your disability, you may have the right to file a lawsuit and seek damages for their actions.

What Is the Time Limit To File a Claim?

Depending on the law you are claiming your employer violated, your time limit for filing a claim for disability discrimination will either 300 days or one year, d. 

If you're filing a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you generally have only 180 days to file a charge with the EEOC following the alleged unlawful practice.. As of January 1, 2020, you have 3 years from the date of the unlawful conduct to file a claim under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Though there are some exceptions, the clock generally starts ticking on the date of the last incident of discrimination.

Who Is Covered Under the Disability Laws?

Under California law, you are protected from disability discrimination if any of the following are true:

  • You have a physiological disease, condition, disorder, or injury that limits your ability to complete major life activities, such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, learning, or working.
  • You have a history of a medical condition that is in remission. 
  • Your employer perceives you to have a physical impairment that is disabling or potentially disabling.
  • You have a temporary or permanent physical or mental impairment.

The "major life activity" threshold is an important indicator of disability under California's disability laws. If a condition limits a major life activity (in that it makes the activity more difficult), it will likely qualify as a disability.

Common Examples of Disability Discrimination

We often find that clients are unsure of whether a situation they experienced qualifies as disability discrimination. Employers should make "reasonable accommodations" for employees with disabilities, but the definition of "reasonable" is subjective. 

To help you understand whether you have grounds for a disability discrimination claim, we've created a few examples of situations that would likely qualify as disability discrimination.

Example 1: Peter has a condition that causes dizziness and fatigue after standing for extended periods. He works as a grocery store cashier and recently requested that his employer provide him with a chair to sit in while ringing up customers. Sitting would not affect his ability to complete his job duties, but his employer refuses to provide him a chair because "no one else is allowed to sit down." Because of this, Peter is forced to take breaks every hour to rest his legs. His employer fires him for taking too many breaks.

Example 2: Beth is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair. She applies for a job as a children's librarian, and her education and experience make her more than qualified for the position. During her interview, she notes that she would need to move the bookshelves farther apart to make room for her wheelchair to pass through the aisles. The director of the library gives the job to someone else and accidentally includes Beth in an email where he explains that he "wouldn't want to rearrange the whole library just for her."

Can Disability Discrimination Be Justified?

If an employer has a good enough reason for discriminating against you, their behavior may be justified, and you may not have grounds for a discrimination claim. But what is a "good enough reason?"

Your employer must be able to show that they discriminated against you as an appropriate means of achieving a legitimate aim, such as:

  • The health and safety of others, such as coworkers or customers
  • The requirements of running the business

For example, the fire department can choose not to hire someone who has a physical disability, as the fire service requires applicants to pass physical tests to show that they are apt for the demands of the job. An employer may also not be required to maintain the employment status of an employee who, because of his or her disability, would cause harm to themselves or others.  

In instances where discrimination is justified, it does not count as unlawful discrimination. 

What Accommodations Are Required?

Employers must be willing to make "reasonable accommodations” for an employee’s disability, unless doing so would result in an undue hardship on the company. These accommodations are productivity enhancers that enable people with disabilities to perform their job duties and that generally benefit all employees. Accommodations are not special treatments awarded to one employee. 

Examples of reasonable workplace adjustments include:

  • Modifying a restroom to allow for wheelchair access
  • Providing screen reader software to an employee who has a vision impairment
  • Allowing a service animal to accompany an employee

Meanwhile, the following may not be reasonable accommodations:

  • Removing essential job duties from a position
  • Creating new jobs for employees with disabilities
  • Reassigning another employee so a disabled employee may work that position

Employers are welcome to provide these accommodations, but they are not required to do so.

The Interactive Process

California law requires employers to conduct an "Interactive Process" to determine what reasonable accommodations can be made for an employee with a disability. This process involves communication with the employee and a good-faith effort to select an appropriate accommodation.

How Do I Prove Discrimination in California?

If you believe your employer has discriminated against you, our disability discrimination lawyers can help you collect ample evidence to use in your claim. Evidence may include:

  • Written communications between you and your employer
  • Statements from managers or supervisors relating to the discriminatory behavior
  • Examples of reasonable accommodations that could have allowed you to complete your job duties effectively
  • Examples of other employees working similar jobs with similar disabilities to your own 

When To Seek Legal Help

Employment discrimination is a serious offense. If you've requested that your employer make reasonable accommodations to allow you to fulfill your job duties, and they have failed to do so, or if your employer has discriminated against you because of your disability in another way, you should seek legal guidance. 

An experienced disability discrimination lawyer can help you determine whether you have grounds for a lawsuit and guide you through the legal process. Without a competent professional on your side, you risk compromising your claim and losing your potential eligibility for compensation.

Meet Our Attorneys

Michael J. Kent & Emily R. Pincin

Michael Kent was inspired to become an attorney by his passion for piecing together puzzles and information in his younger years. He loves nothing more than analyzing cases to piece together evidence and find out what a defendant is hiding, to obtain a positive outcome. Michael’s father, as well as his in-laws, are attorneys who have provided valuable mentorship and guidance relating to the civil justice system.

“I want to help people piece their lives back together and move forward. They deserve to be given a voice and feel protected whatever the circumstances.”

Emily Pincin was motivated to become an attorney by her affection for reading, writing, and understanding the intricacies of the law. Raised in a household with a court reporter mother, Emily familiarized herself with the justice system and became passionate about helping others through their most difficult times.

“Everything about what we do really comes down to helping the client feel that they can achieve a feeling of justification and peace. We are working to help them attain a sense of vindication.”

Emily and Michael

How a California Disability Discrimination Lawyer Can Help

Our disability discrimination lawyers can help you with all of the following as part of your case:

  • Collect evidence to show that your employer discriminated against you
  • Communicate with your employer and all parties on your behalf
  • Explain the relevant California laws that apply to your case
  • Guide you through the claims process
  • Protect your rights to reasonable accommodations and protected activities

Caring for our Clients

Do You Need To Speak With a California Disability Discrimination Attorney?

You have a right to seek and maintain employment without facing discrimination due to your disability. If you're concerned that your employer is discriminating against you, contact our disability discrimination lawyers today. We can examine your situation and help you determine whether you have a case against your employer, then guide you through the legal process.

Contact Kent | Pincin today at 310-376-0922 to discuss how we can help you.

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