The Mirroknian Law Firm, P.C. represents victims of disability discrimination throughout Southern California, including in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. While no one should be forced to undergo discrimination, people with disabilities often meet with additional daily challenges or unfavorable treatment based on the perception that they are less competent or capable, either because of a real or perceived physical or mental impairment.
Many laws have been passed to protect the rights of people with disabilities, but the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 are by far the most sweeping and comprehensive. The part of the ADA which has been most heavily litigated and addressed is Title I, outlawing discrimination in employment based on disability.
FEHA/ADA apply to employers with 5 (FEHA)/15 (ADA) employees or more, and protect a “qualified individual with a disability” from employment discrimination. A qualified individual is someone who can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation – but FEHA/ADA fail to define what an essential job function is, and what a reasonable accommodation is. Similarly, the definition of a disability is not clear-cut. For instance, there must be an impairment which substantially limits a major life activity – but what constitutes a major life activity, and when is it substantially limited? The U.S. Supreme Court and state courts have weighed in on many of these topics, but many more have yet to be answered in specific instances, creating a complicated and challenging environment for the victim of discrimination seeking redress.
FEHA/ADA join other laws outlawing workplace discrimination based on certain characteristics, such as race, gender or religion (Title VII), age (the ADEA), or pregnancy (the PDA). Like many of those laws, FEHA/ADA require a victim of employment disability discrimination to first file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The DFEH/EEOC have the opportunity to investigate the claim first and may bring an enforcement action on behalf of the government or may issue the employee a right-to-sue letter. After receiving that letter, the individual may initiate a private lawsuit for monetary damages or other relief, such as reinstatement (if terminated) or promotion (if denied).
If you have been discriminated against because of a disability, contact The Mirroknian Law Firm, P.C. for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer regarding your civil rights.