San Diego Disability Discrimination Lawyers
Having a disability may make finding a job more difficult. In an economy that is seeing higher-than-normal rates of unemployment, many people, disabled or not, are struggling to gain employment. A down economy may affect anyone, but for those that have a disability, there are laws in place to protect you from discrimination, essentially leveling the playing field, and asserting that your ability to find or keep employment should be equal to everyone else’s.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Code prohibit employers from discriminating against qualified workers with disabilities— in hiring, firing, determining pay rate, promotion or demotion, and other aspects of employment.
What Constitutes a Disability?
A disability, specified under the ADA, is any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. This could include disabilities affecting walking, lifting, bending, reading, or speaking, or could mean an impairment of any of the body’s major functions.
Who is Covered?
The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to several categories of employees:
- Any employee or applicant who has a physical or mental impairment that “substantially limits a major life activity”
- Any employee with a history of impairment
- Any employee whom the employer regards as disabled, even if the employer is wrong in that belief
Who Can Be Classified as a Qualified Worker with a Disability?
To be considered a qualified worker with a disability, you must be able to do the job, meaning you are able to handle the “essential duties” of the job, either with a reasonable accommodation by the employer or without one. The purpose of the law is to level the playing field, but you do not have to be given preference over other more qualified applicants simply because you have a disability.
What is Meant by “Reasonable Accommodation?”
If needed, an employer must provide a reasonable accommodation – an adjustment or modification that allows the employee to do the job – to a qualified employee with a disability. The employee with the disability needs to suggest an appropriate accommodation. However, the employer may make an alternative accommodation that serves the same purpose after discussing various possibilities with the employee.
What is “Undue Hardship?”
If making an accommodation for a disability would be so difficult or expensive as to create a hardship for the business, it would not be required by the law. This depends on the size and financial resources of the company, the type and cost of the accommodation, the cost of other accommodations the business has already made, and whether the accommodation would pose a threat to the business’ financial viability. Most accommodations cost less than $500, the EEOC reports, and are relatively easy to put in place without “undue hardship.”
Disability Discrimination Lawyers in San Diego
If you have reason to believe that you’ve been discriminated against because of an actual or perceived disability, you may have a cause of action against the employer. Your best course of action is to promptly consult a San Diego disability discrimination attorney. The employment attorneys at Harrison & Bodell have been honored by being selected as Super Lawyers, a designation achieved by less than 5 percent of the lawyers practicing in San Diego. We have years of experience in employment law and devote a large part of our practice to pursuing justice on behalf of people, like you, who have been treated unfairly in the workplace. Our passion, commitment, knowledge, and hard work have paid off for many of our clients in substantial settlements and verdicts.
Call Harrison & Bodell today, before the time to file runs out!