The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that protects individuals with disabilities from being discriminated against in the workplace. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) provides added protection for these individuals to ensure that that they’re also treated fairly on the job and afforded reasonable accommodation.
California employers that have five or more workers on their staff are required to abide by the FEHA, especially as it relates to providing individuals with disabilities with reasonable accommodations. They are required to do this as long as it doesn’t create an undue hardship on the business to do so.
An employer is expected to provide their disabled worker with an opportunity to work a modified work schedule and to take leave to seek out medical care if needed to comply with FEHA. They’re also expected to modify a worker’s job duties, including providing them with electrical or mechanical aids and relocating their workspace if necessary. Employers may even have to change a worker’s job duties to comply with this state law.
The onus falls on the shoulders of an employer to engage their employee in an interactive discussion to better understand how to meet their worker’s reasonable accommodation request. Employers are expected to inquire about this if a worker has exhausted their leave. They’re expected to do so after being notified of an employee’s special needs by a third party as well.
Employers who fail to respond to their employee’s request for reasonable accommodations may be found to have violated state or federal laws.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing has made a Request for Reasonable Accommodation packet available to employers to help guide them through how to handle employee requests. They did so in hopes that it would minimize the chance of them being discriminated against, resulting in lawsuits being filed.
Legislation like the ADA and FEHA have been drafted to protect the rights of disabled individuals in the workplace. What constitutes a disability or reasonable accommodation have often been fought over in court. Workers who believe that they’ve been treated unfairly in their Sherman Oaks workplace should consult with a disability discrimination attorney with whom they can discuss the merits of filing a lawsuit in their case.