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Disability Discrimination Lawyer Serving Southern California
Millions Recovered For Victims
California law requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees with a physical or mental disability so that they can perform the essential functions of the job. Sadly, some employers prefer to terminate disabled employees rather than comply with the law. Contact Ortiz Law Office today for a free consultation with a disability discrimination lawyer.
What is disability discrimination?
An employee claiming disability discrimination must prove:
- The employer knew that the employee had a physical disability, mental disability, or medical condition that limited a major life activity;
- That the employee was able to perform the essential job duties, either with or without reasonable accommodation;
- The employer discharged or took adverse employment action against the employee because of the physical disability, mental disability, or medical condition that limited a major life activity.
Source: Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions, Instruction No. 2540.
Frequently Asked Questions
California law prohibits discrimination against individuals who have a “physical disability, mental disability or medical condition.”
“Physical disability” includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Having any physiological disease, disorder, condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss that does both of the following:
(A) Affects one or more of the following body systems: neurological, immunological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory, including speech organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.
(B) Limits a major life activity.
“Mental disability” includes, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Having any mental or psychological disorder or condition, such as intellectual disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, or specific learning disabilities, that limits a major life activity. For purposes of this section:
(A) “Limits” shall be determined without regard to mitigating measures, such as medications, assistive devices, or reasonable accommodations, unless the mitigating measure itself limits a major life activity.
(B) A mental or psychological disorder or condition limits a major life activity if it makes the achievement of the major life activity difficult.
“Medical condition” means either of the following:
(1) Any health impairment related to or associated with a diagnosis of cancer or a record or history of cancer.
(2) Genetic characteristics. For purposes of this section, “genetic characteristics” means either of the following:
(A) Any scientifically or medically identifiable gene or chromosome, or combination or alteration thereof, that is known to be a cause of a disease or disorder in a person or that person’s offspring, or that is determined to be associated with a statistically increased risk of development of a disease or disorder, and that is presently not associated with any symptoms of any disease or disorder.
(B) Inherited characteristics that may derive from the individual or family member, that are known to be a cause of a disease or disorder in a person or that person’s offspring, or that are determined to be associated with a statistically increased risk of development of a disease or disorder, and that are presently not associated with any symptoms of any disease or disorder.
Deafness, blindness, intellectual disability, partially or completely missing limbs, mobility impairments requiring use of a wheelchair, autism, cancer, cerebral palsy, diabetes, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, major depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.
Source: 29 CFR § 1630.2(j)(3)(iii).
- chronic or episodic conditions such as HIV/AIDS;
- seizure disorder;
- multiple sclerosis; and
- heart disease.
Source: Cal. Gov. Code § 12926.1(c); 2 CCR § 11065(d)(2)(C).
- Back injuries that impair working or other major life activities.
Source: Colmenares v. Braemar Country Club, Inc., 29 Cal. 4th 1019, 1024 (2003).
Source: Bagatti v. Department of Rehabilitation, 97 Cal. App. 4th 344, 354 (2002).
- Wrist injury resulting in restrictions on lifting, pulling and pushing.
Source: Hanson v. Lucky Stores, Inc., 74 Cal. App. 4th 215, 220 (1999).
- Hypertension and high blood pressure.
Source: American Nat’l Ins. Co. v. Fair Employment & Housing Comm’n, 32 Cal. 3d 603, 610 1982.
- Panic attacks that leave employee temporarily unable to perform job duties to heart palpitations and other symptoms.
Source: Roby v. McKesson Corp., 47 Cal. 4th 686, 694-95 (2009).
An adverse employment action is an action or course or pattern of conduct that, taken as a whole, materially and adversely affected the terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. An adverse employment action includes conduct that is reasonably likely to impair a reasonable employee’s job performance or prospects for advancement or promotion. However, minor or trivial actions or conduct that is not reasonably likely to do more than anger or upset an employee cannot constitute an adverse employment action.
Source: Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions, Instruction No. 2529.
Termination, demotion, pay cut, cut in hours, lateral transfer, paid or unpaid suspension, reduction in retirement benefits/contributions, reduction in benefits, denial of raise or promotion, refusal/failure to hire, refusal/failure to provide training opportunities offered to other employees, reduction in authority and responsibilities, and negative performance reviews.
- Lost wages and benefits
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering from physical injury or exacerbation of pre-existing physical conditions
- Other economic losses like medical expenses, moving expenses, and job search expenses
- Punitive damages to punish private employers in extreme cases
- Attorney’s fees under some laws
- Reinstatement in some cases
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This website is an advertisement for legal services. The information provided on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. An attorney-client relationship does not begin until a formal written contract is signed. If you have legal questions or need legal advice, you should contact an attorney. Nothing contained in this website should be construed as a guarantee or promise of results. Past case results are not indicative of future results and are presented for informational purposes only. The case results presented herein are from cases that Brandon Ortiz had primary day-to-day responsibility for prior to founding Ortiz Law Office, Inc.