Disability and Reasonable Accommodation

          A disability is any physical or mental condition that makes it hard for an employee to work. These may include back injuries, cancer, depression, hearing impairments, heart conditions, visual impairments, and many others.


          All too often working people with disabilities, or those who need to take time off for serious medical reasons, are fired instead of accommodated. Those who end up with a serious medical condition often find it harder to work without some sort of accommodation or adjustment.
          Disabled workers are protected from discrimination under state and federal laws, including the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 [the “ADA”] and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act [the “FEHA”].
Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for disabled employees, if this will allow the employee to work without causing undue hardship to the employer. Accommodations can include reassigning your job duties, transferring you to a different job, providing a special computer, or giving time off. Employers are also usually required to give employees time off for medical reasons, including the medical conditions of seriously ill family members.


          Here are some situations where an employee may have a strong legal claim for disability discrimination:


  • You are discharged soon after your employer learns that you have a disability or that you need time off for a medical condition.
  • Your employer will not make adjustments needed to allow you to do your job, such as reassigning some job duties, transferring you, or giving you time off.
  • You are fired for taking “too much time” off from work, though you had to take that time off because of a disability or a serious medical condition.
  • After you take time off from work because of a serious injury or illness, your employer will not take you back unless you are “100% healed.”


FMLA/ Other Leave


          The Family and Medical Leave Act [FMLA] protects employees who must take time off from work due to sickness, pregnancy, or the serious medical condition of a family member. If you take FMLA, your employer cannot retaliate against you.


          To be eligible for FMLA, your employer much have at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius of the workplace. You must also have worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous year.


          If you think you may have a good legal claim for discrimination because of your disability or medical condition, don’t hesitate to seek an experienced attorney on your side. Call us at 510-886-4876 or email me today.