It is important that disabled individuals are given the same chance to perform work they are qualified for and earn a living as individuals who do not have a disability do. Disabled persons in California are protected from workplace discrimination both by federal law and by state law. Three of these state laws include the Disabled Persons Act, the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Not only do these laws protect disabled individuals from being discriminated against in the workplace, but they also require employers to make “reasonable accommodations” that will allow a disabled individual to perform their work duties.
The state of California has a broad definition of “disabilities.” Under state law, a disability is a condition that limits a person’s ability to perform a major life activity. Not only does this definition encompass physical and mental disabilities, such as blindness, physiological conditions and clinical depression, but it also includes other medical conditions, such as cancer. However, not every medical condition is considered a disability under California law.
Under California law, employers must provide disabled workers with reasonable accommodations in the workplace, except in situations in which the employer would endure an “undue hardship” by doing so. An undue hardship is one that would result in a significant difficulty or expense on the part of the employer. Some examples of reasonable accommodations include providing accessible restrooms or modifying furniture, equipment or devices.
This is only a brief overview of the protections disabled individuals in California have in the workplace. It is important that these rights are not infringed upon. If a person with a disability believes they have been discriminated against in the workplace due to their disability or if they feel they have been wrongfully denied a reasonable accommodation, they may want to seek the legal guidance needed to understand how state law applies to their specific case.