You Rights as a Disabled Worker in California

01/01/2012

The main laws that protected the disabled workers in California are included in FEHA - Fair Employment and Housing Act (and also in ADA, which is very similar to FEHA but with a few significant differences).

Under FEHA and ADA a disabled employee is entitled to reasonable accommodations to his or her disability. Although, the employer doesn't have to provide a perfect accommodation or the specific accommodation that the employee requests, the accommodation provided must be effective in accomplishing its goal - to allow the employee perform his job duties despite his disability limitations.  

"Disability" within the meaning of FEHA includes many physical and mental conditions, and pretty much any impairment at affects a person's daily duties can potentially be a qualifying disability. This includes such conditions as AIDS, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, OCD, depression/anxiety, and of course repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnnel that so many office workers and nurses are suffering from.  

Despite the fact that the employer has a duty to provide reasonable accommodations to a disabled workers, the worker generally should initiate the process of requesting accommodations to his/her disability, as the employer is not obligated to read the employee's mind. On the other hand No magic words are necessary to trigger the interactive process, but communicating to the employer in so many words that you have a physical or mental limitation and you need some kind of modification is generally sufficient.

Make sure that your request is in writing and that it is sent to the people who are authorized to discuss your health condition and your limiations with you, such as your manager, the human resources department, and other management employees. 

 
Arkady Itkin - San Francisco & Sacramento Wrongful Termination and Disability Discrimination Lawyer