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San Diego Disability Discrimination Attorney

Disability discrimination in the workplace is an unfortunate reality for many employees across San Diego and California. If you believe you have faced discrimination at work because of a disability, you may have legal protections and options for recourse. The experienced attorneys at Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers can provide guidance during this difficult time. Call us today at (619) 550-1355 for a free consultation.

What Constitutes Disability Discrimination in San Diego?

Disability discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee unfavorably because of a disability. There are various ways this can manifest:

Discriminatory Hiring Practices

Employers cannot refuse to hire or interview candidates because of a known or perceived disability, nor can they ask prohibited questions about disabilities in interviews.

Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodations

If an employee has a disability, the employer must provide reasonable workplace accommodations to allow them to perform essential job duties, unless doing so would cause undue hardship. Failure to engage in the interactive process or provide accommodations can constitute discrimination.

Harassment or Hostile Work Environment

It is illegal for supervisors, managers. or coworkers to harass an employee because of their disability. This includes offensive remarks, exclusion, over-scrutiny, and other behaviors that create a hostile environment.

Demotion, Discipline, or Termination

Employers cannot demote, discipline, or terminate employees because of their disability or need for accommodations without just cause. They also cannot do “constructive discharge,” which is a form of discrimination where the company makes working conditions intolerable, compelling the employee to resign.

Examples of Disability Discrimination

Disability discrimination can manifest in various forms. Some common examples include:

  • Not hiring a qualified candidate because of their disability or perceived disability
  • Firing an employee after they acquire a disability or disclose a disability
  • Denying reasonable accommodations in the workplace for disabled employees
  • Harassing or creating a hostile environment targeting disabled employees
  • Denying promotions purely based on an employee’s disability
  • “Constructive discharge” – when working conditions are made intolerable for an employee with disability
  • Singling out disabled employees for harsher discipline compared to non-disabled staff
  • Restricting access to workplace facilities due to disabilities
  • Failure to stop disability-based bullying by coworkers or managers
  • Restricting access to training and development opportunities based solely on disability.

The above list provides some examples but does not cover every type of disability discrimination that can occur. The overarching theme is that the company takes adverse action or behaves negatively against employees or job candidates because of actual or perceived disabilities.

If you believe you have experienced discrimination at work related to a disability, it’s advisable to discuss your situation with an experienced disability discrimination attorney. At the Hamparyan law office, we can assess your situation and provide guidance tailored to your circumstances.

Legal Protections Against Disability Discrimination

Several laws at both federal and state levels prohibit disability discrimination in California workplaces:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disability and mandates reasonable accommodations in workplaces with 15 or more employees.
  • California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) bans discrimination and sets reasonable accommodation requirements for all employers with five or more employees
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides job-protected leave for serious medical conditions.
  • California Family Rights Act (CFRA) also grants medical leave protections that supplement the FMLA.

These laws cover disabilities that a person has, had in the past, or that employers perceive them as having and use as a basis for discrimination.

What Disabilities are Covered By Anti-Discrimination Laws?

Disability discrimination laws do not only protect people with obvious disabilities. They cover a wide range of physical and mental conditions, including:

  • Chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and the like
  • Sensory impairments such as blindness, deafness, or speech disorders
  • Mobility limitations requiring wheelchairs or other assistance
  • Spinal cord injuries, amputations, or facial disfigurements
  • Intellectual disabilities like Down syndrome, autism, and more
  • Mental health issues including depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder
  • Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, etc.
  • Autoimmune disorders like lupus, Crohn’s, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Alcoholism or past drug addiction (if recovered)
  • Learning disabilities such as dyslexia or ADD/ADHD.

If a condition substantially impacts major life activities like walking, seeing, hearing, and concentrating, it likely qualifies as a covered disability, even if not widely recognized as such. Many “invisible” disabilities are also protected.

An experienced disability discrimination lawyer can assess your situation and advise if your condition is covered under state and federal anti-discrimination laws. Protections apply whether disabilities are temporary or permanent. Contact the Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers to discuss your rights.

Evidence Needed for a Strong Disability Discrimination Case

To prove a claim of disability discrimination, certain evidence is very helpful:

  • Medical records confirming the disability
  • Positive performance reviews and lack of disciplinary issues
  • Documentation of the adverse action (demotion, firing, etc.)
  • Comparator evidence of similar non-disabled employees treated more favorably
  • Witness testimony corroborating events
  • Proof the employer knew about the disability
  • Records of requests for accommodations.

What You May Receive in a Successful Claim for Disability Discrimination In The Workplace

Compensation in successful disability discrimination cases can be substantial. It may include:

  • Lost wages and benefits
  • Damages for emotional distress
  • Reinstatement to your prior position
  • Front pay in lieu of reinstatement
  • Attorney fees and court costs
  • Punitive damages in some egregious cases.

Having experienced legal counsel greatly improves your chances of obtaining full and fair compensation in these often-complex cases. Please don’t hesitate to approach us at the Hamparyan firm. Your consultations with us are confidential.

San Diego Disability Discrimination Frequently Asked Questions 

What should I do if I believe I’m being discriminated against due to my disability?

If you suspect disability discrimination at work, you should document events, request accommodations in writing, and consult a disability discrimination lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can assess your situation, explain your rights and options, initiate legal demands with your employer, and build your case. Acting promptly gives you the best chance of resolving the issue favorably.

What types of conditions are covered under disability laws?

Federal law and California physical disability laws cover physical or mental impairments that substantially limit major life activities, such as seeing, hearing, walking, and concentrating. Many types of health conditions can qualify including chronic illnesses, permanent injuries, and mental disability such as PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, and others. An experienced lawyer can advise if your condition applies.

Can I be fired for excessive absences related to my disability?

No, terminating an employee solely for disability-related absences is illegal if the absences qualify as a reasonable accommodation. Firing someone under those circumstances constitutes disability discrimination. If excessive absences cause undue hardship for the employer, additional protections may apply under medical leave laws.

What happens if my employer refuses to provide me accommodations?

Denying reasonable accommodations for a disability without credible justification represents unlawful discrimination. You can file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state agencies, and you may also file a private lawsuit. Remedies may encompass civil penalties on the employer and compensatory damages for the employee.

Do I have to disclose my disability to my employer?

In most cases, no. But if you need accommodations to perform your job duties, disclosing usually becomes necessary to engage in the interactive process with your employer. Even then, you only need to provide documentation verifying you have a covered disability requiring accommodations. The details of your medical diagnosis and history can remain private.

Can an employer ask about my disability in a job interview?

No, that is strictly prohibited under the Americans with Disabilities Act and California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Interview questions cannot pertain to disabilities, medical conditions, or workers compensation history. If asked such questions, you can refuse to answer.

What monetary damages might I recover in a disability discrimination lawsuit?

Compensatory awards in these cases can vary substantially depending on lost income, type of discrimination, length of employment, physical or mental harm, and other factors. Many settlements range from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some verdicts have reached millions, especially in class actions. An attorney can assess the potential value after reviewing your case details.

Why Choose Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers? 

The disability discrimination attorneys at Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers have over 20 years helping Southern Californians. We have recovered millions of dollars for clients recovering from injuries and striving to become productive again. Highly respected in this field, our track record of success stems from our determination to stand up to discriminatory employers and our willingness to take cases to trial if fair settlements cannot be reached.

The Hamparyan firm offers free in-depth consultations and home and hospital visits when needed. We also represent on a contingency-fee basis, meaning you pay no lawyer fees until we obtain compensation for you. You don’t waste any of your hard-earned money when you approach us for your California workplace discrimination claim.

Schedule a Free Consultation with our San Diego Disability Discrimination Lawyer Today

If you face disability discrimination at work, contact our San Diego attorneys today at (619) 550-1355 for experienced legal guidance. The Hamparyan team is here to answer your questions and discuss your best path forward.


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