At DuRard, McKenna & Borg in San Mateo, California, we represent injured workers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in workers' compensation and related civil matters, including disability discrimination claims.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect workers from being discriminated against in the terms and conditions of their employment because of a physical or mental disability. Issues of disability discrimination arising under FEHA and the ADA often overlap with work-related injury claims arising under the workers' compensation system.
Reasonable Accommodations and the Interactive Process
California employers with five or more employees must make reasonable accommodations for employees or applicants with disabilities. If you are an employee or applicant who needs accommodations, you must generally request them from your supervisor, a human resources employee, or any other designated managerial employee. In some cases, however, your supervisor may observe behavior or be aware of a work-related injury that puts him or her on notice that you may need accommodations, and ignoring this information can constitute discrimination.
When you request accommodations, your employer must engage in "a timely, good faith, interactive process to determine effective reasonable accommodations" which will allow you to perform your essential job functions. Examples of reasonable accommodations include:
- Allowing you to take leave to receive medical treatment or surgery;
- Reassigning you to a vacant position for which you can perform the essential job duties;
- Job restructuring (e.g., assigning non-essential duties to another employee);
- Providing you with special equipment or supplies;
- Allowing you to have a modified work schedule; and
- Modifying workplace policies.
Work-Related Injuries and Reasonable Accommodations
If you are temporarily or permanently disabled because of a workplace injury or illness, your employer may be required to make reasonable accommodations to allow you to return to work. For example:
- If you are partially temporarily disabled and can work, but because of temporary work restrictions, you cannot perform some of your essential job duties, your employer is required to engage in an interactive process to determine what accommodations can be made so that you can work while you are recovering.
- If you are permanently disabled, your employer may be required to provide you with permanent modified work duties.
- If your employer tells you that there is no available work that can accommodate your disability without making any effort to discuss with you your work restrictions and what job functions you will be able to perform, your employer has likely failed to engage in a timely interactive process in violation of the law.
Contact Experienced Disability Discrimination Lawyers
If you are temporarily or permanently disabled by a work-related injury or illness, or are otherwise disabled, you have rights under state and federal anti-discrimination laws. Our lawyers have significant experience handling employment disability discrimination claims, and can help protect you from job loss or job discrimination. Our lawyers speak Spanish, Hindi, and Arabic, allowing us to serve the legal needs of the diverse San Francisco Bay Area community. We offer free initial consultations, as well as take cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no legal fees unless we successfully help you recover. Call us today at (650) 425-3278.