Disability Discrimination

Under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), a physical condition or mental condition that limits a major life activity constitutes a disability.  Because of this broad definition, inability to work at a specific job can be considered a disability.  If you are on leave for a condition that keeps you from working at your job, you may inform your employer that you are disabled and your employer has to reasonably accommodate you.  Your employer may not engage in disability discrimination.

Unpaid leave is a reasonable accommodation, almost as a matter of law.  Just because you have exhausted federal Family and Medical Leave, doesn’t mean your employer isn’t required to accommodate your disability through additional unpaid leave.  Although the federal Family and Medical Leave Act maxes out at 12 weeks, California’s disability discrimination law requires employers to provide the reasonable accommodation of unpaid leave above and beyond the 12 weeks.  In one case, a leave of 16 months was considered a reasonable accommodation.

In fact, your employer must accommodate your leave of absence if it is reasonable and doesn’t create an undue hardship.   Failure to grant the requested leave can be seen as a failure to provide reasonable accommodation.  Although California law regarding disability discrimination does not require indefinite leave, California courts have ruled that an employer must provide a disabled employee leave for the foreseeable future.

Contact California employment lawyers at Freiman Law at (310) 917-1024 or via the form on the right for a free case evaluation.

By Lawrence Freiman