People in California who have disabilities are protected from workplace discrimination. If you had a disability in the past, or an employer falsely assumes you have a disability, you are also protected from disability discrimination. A disability could be any long-term physical or mental condition that affects your ability to perform everyday tasks.
The Equality Act of 2010
The Equality Act set up certain protections for workers with disabilities. Under the Act, employers cannot treat a disabled person less favorably than a person without a disability even if the individual’s disability impacts his or her work in some ways. For example, if your disability requires you to take a day off work for a doctor’s appointment, your boss cannot fire you because of that.
Harassment and victimization
Disability discrimination is often indirect and hidden. However, there are times when employers will engage in direct discrimination by harassing a disabled worker or telling a disabled job candidate that he or she won’t be hired because of his or her disability.
If a disabled worker or job candidate complains about the discrimination they experienced at work, employers are not allowed to retaliate against them. Treating a disabled worker poorly because he or she made a discrimination complaint is considered victimization. Victimization is also illegal under employment law.
Employers are obligated to provide disabled workers with reasonable accommodations so that they can perform their work comfortably. An example of this may be providing a physically disabled worker with a designated parking space that is closer to the workplace. If a disabled worker is blind, he or she may require work instructions in braille.
Disability discrimination can be costly
When you are discriminated against because of a disability, the lost job opportunities can be financially draining. You may be able to seek some reimbursement for these losses by filing a discrimination complaint against the employer.