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San Diego Disability Discrimination Attorney

None of us expect to experience discrimination and harassment, but unfortunately it does happen. When you receive unlawful treatment from an employer due to a disability or due to a loved one’s disability, it can affect all aspects of your life.


Thankfully, the legislature has created laws designed to protect those with disabilities from discrimination. Discrimination can take many forms such as hiring, promotional opportunities, or allowing for accommodations. Still, some employers find ways to try to go around these laws to minimize expenses.

Fortunately, the experienced lawyers at Walker Law are here to help. If you live in the San Diego area, the disability attorneys at Walker Law can assist you with your claim so that you can get the compensation that you deserve.

How is Disability Defined?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides protection at the federal level for employees from disability-based employment discrimination. Employees are also protected from disability discrimination under California state laws. Discrimination against people with mental or physical disabilities is prohibited under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the California Disabled Persons Act (CDPA).

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a disability is any physical or mental impairment that significantly limits a major life activity. This includes difficulties in walking, lifting, bending, reading, or speaking, as well as any impairment to any major bodily functions.

Under the ADA, protected persons with disabilities include:

  • An employee or applicant who suffers from a physical or mental
    disability that “significantly limits a major life activity”
  • Employees who have a history of impairment
  • An employee whom the employer believes to be disabled, even if the
    employer is mistaken

To be considered a qualified worker with a disability, an employee must meet a baseline level of performance. An employee must be able to perform the “essential duties” of the job, either with or without a reasonable accommodation from the employer. While employees are still required to meet baseline performance, the laws protect those with disabilities from being selected against for unfair preferential treatment.

Addressing Disability Discrimination in the Workplace

Disability discrimination cases often present themselves in a roundabout manner. For example, disability cases can come up in employer negligence cases due to a lack of knowledge of the employer providing solutions to employees who have disabilities. While employers might argue that only obvious signs of disability are addressable, the reality is that employees with either visible or not so obvious disabilities are protected by state and federal laws.

Discrimination can manifest itself in the workplace in a variety of ways, such as hiring and firing decisions, training, promotion, and career advancement. Disabled employees who are passed over for job assignments, receive lower pay and/or benefits, are forced to leave or are laid off, or are subjected to any other such employment-related incidents due to their disability are all protected by discrimination laws.

Employers must provide a qualified employee who has a disability with reasonable accommodations – adjustment or modifications that allow the employee to perform the job. However, an employer is not required to provide every and any accommodation. The employee is required to propose a suitable accommodation. The employer then can have the opportunity to propose an alternative accommodation, so long as the alternative serves the purpose the employee raised and is reasonable.

Some examples of accommodations can include different working hours, job restructuring, job reassignment, additional training, and equipment modification. Employees who seek assistance should be able to reasonably demonstrate to their employer that their disabilities exist with discussion in good-faith from both sides.

Also, businesses are not required to make accommodations that would be considered too difficult or expensive. Various factors go into addressing what is considered reasonable, such as the company’s size and financial resources, the type and cost of the accommodation, the cost of previous accommodations made by the company, and whether the accommodation would jeopardize the company’s financial viability. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), most accommodations cost less than $500 and are relatively simple to implement without causing “undue hardship.”

Legal recourse may be available to employees that have been treated unfairly because of a real or perceived disability by their employer. The EEOC is the enforcement arm for the ADA’s employment discrimination provisions. Before suing an employer for job discrimination, a Charge of Discrimination (or EEOC complaint) must be filed with the EEOC, and the EEOC must issue a Notice of Right to Sue.

Specific California Rules Against Disability Discrimination

In California, employers with 15 or more employees are required by law to treat disabled workers and job applicants fairly in the following areas:

  • Reasonable accommodations — Employers must provide reasonable
    accommodations so long as they are not too difficult or expensive to provide. Examples include installing a wheelchair ramp, installing screen reader software on a computer, and allowing for a service animal are all examples of reasonable accommodations.
  • Hiring and promotion — Employers cannot selectively discriminate
    against a a disabled job applicant or employee who is qualified to
    perform the essential functions of a job, whether with or without reasonable accommodation.
  • Compensation — Employees with disabilities are entitled to the same
    compensation as their peers for the performance of their jobs
  • Benefits — Employers are not permitted to provide reduced medical
    benefits to individuals or with a disability or a history of physical or mental impairment.
  • Privacy — Except when legally required, employers are prohibited
    from sharing an employee’s personal medical information without their consent.

How We Approach Disability Discrimination Cases In San Diego

Disability discrimination occurs when a qualified employee, applicant, or individual has received unfavorable treatment because he or she has a disability. Sometimes employers discriminate outright during the hiring process. In other cases, it make take years or a specific event for the employer to display discriminatory attitudes or fail to make reasonable accommodations for your disability.

At Walker Law, our team of lawyers is extremely knowledgeable about both state and federal disability laws and we know exactly what to do to look after you rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers or other entities covered under the law to provide reasonable accommodation to people with disabilities. The law also protects people from discrimination who have a relationship with a person who has a disability, even if the individual who has been discriminated against is not disabled.

If you have experienced discrimination, get legal assistance right away. Our attorneys will advise you on what to do next in order to protect your rights and to help you to pursue compensation for your injuries.

San Diego Disability Discrimination Claims We Handle

We provide a free case evaluation and can help with all disability discrimination claims in the San Diego area, including:

  • Refusal to engage in an interactive process to determine reasonable accommodations for your disability
  • Being ordered to work certain hours or perform tasks that are in violation of your medical restrictions
  • Failure to accommodate medical leave
  • Retaliation by the employer for asserting your rights under California law or the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Retaliation by the employer for use of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim as a result of a work injury

If you believe that you or a family member has faced discrimination due to a disability, then you should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. The faster we are able to act on your claim, the better your chances are of receiving compensation from the responsible parties. If you need support, assistance, or guidance with any disability discrimination in the San Diego area, do not hesitate to contact us.

Walker Law Firm supports the rights of employees with disabilities and assists clients in obtaining restitution from employers who discriminate against them. Contact our San Diego disability discrimination lawyers today for your free consultation.

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