Living with a disability can be challenging enough without other people judging you for it. For this reason, the state of California enacted several laws that provide you with the protections you need in order to live your life free from the preconceived notions and discrimination of some employers.
Just because you live with a disability doesn’t mean that you aren’t qualified for a position or that you can’t perform the duties of a job. As long as any reasonable accommodations you need don’t present an undue hardship on an employer, you deserve to be treated like anyone else. Sadly, not all employers feel this way and violate the laws meant to protect you.
What does the law say?
Under the Disabled Persons Act, California Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act, all provide you with the following protections from discrimination due to your disability:
- An employer may ask you about your ability to perform the duties of the job for which you are applying.
- An employer may provide you with a response to your request for an accommodation.
- An employer may ask you for a certification from your doctor regarding your need for a reasonable accommodation.
- An employer must consider you for the position despite your known or perceived disability.
- An employer may not require you to undergo a physical or psychological evaluation that is not required of all prospective employees.
Your current or prospective employer should have a good faith discussion with you regarding whether any accommodation you need is possible. These conversations need to determine the essential functions of the position, along with whether any accommodations you would need place an undue hardship on the employer.
What do you think?
If you feel that a prospective or current employer failed to give you a fair chance due to your disability or refused to provide you with a reasonable accommodation, you may have a claim for discrimination. If you fail to receive a satisfactory resolution within your company, you may need to go outside of it for a resolution to your issues. When you do, you may find that your employer will begin retaliating against you, which the law also prohibits.
You do not have to simply accept the situation. If reasonable accommodations are possible, but your employer refuses to provide them to you, you have every right to speak out about it. You also have the right not to go through this alone. Help is available.