There are a number of struggles that individuals with disabilities have to deal with on a daily basis. Facing discrimination at the workplace should not be one of them. Anyone who believes that they were mistreated at the workplace because of a disability would be well advised to discuss their situation with an experienced Mission Viejo employment lawyer.
There are a number of state and federal statutes that prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities. It is against the law for employers to base decisions regarding hiring, salaries and terminations on someone’s disabilities. The protections provided to individuals dealing with a disability are specified under the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s disability. This includes schools and other institutions that receive federal funding. In 1990, congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act, which enhanced these protections. This act specifically makes it illegal for private employers, government entities, employment agencies and local unions to discriminate against qualified individuals. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against someone with a disability when they:
- Make decisions regarding promotions
- Give job training
This act does not, however, cover job applicants and employees in all businesses. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically covers workers at businesses with 15 or more employees. There are a number of other potential exemptions as well.
Definition of Disability
According to the ADA, an individual with a disability has:
- A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual
- A record of such an impairment or being regarded as having such an impairment.”
Disabilities covered by the ADA include physiological disorders, cosmetic disfigurement, anatomical losses, mental or psychological disorders, mental retardation, emotional or mental illness and learning disabilities.
Disabilities and the Workplace
Not all disabilities prevent individuals from functioning at work and companies with 15 or more employees are legally required to consider all applicants who have a disability. California law takes it a step further. In California, employers with five or more employees are required to make a reasonable accommodation to the known disabilities of an applicant who is qualified for a position. Companies that do not want to hire someone with a disability will have to prove that the hiring will result in undue hardship on the operation of their business. California law also prohibits companies from retaliating against a worker who objects to discrimination in the workplace. So, if disability discrimination does occur, workers who choose to stand up to it will be protected under the law.
Other Forms of Discrimination
Of course, discrimination against individuals with a disability is not the only form of discrimination that is present in some Orange County workplaces. There are instances of sexism involving women receiving less pay than men performing the same tasks. It is common for individuals of a certain age to not receive the promotion they earned. There are cases of race discrimination involving companies failing to hire qualified applicants because of their race. Others may be discriminated against because of their religious beliefs or sexual orientation.
The skilled Mission Viejo employment lawyers at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys have experience handling employment law issues that do not involve discrimination as well. For example, individuals would be well advised to speak with an employment attorney if they believe that their employer has failed to pay them for overtime. There are some exceptions to the rule, but in general, employees who work over eight hours a day or over 40 hours a week are eligible for overtime pay. Please call us at 949-203-3814 or contact us to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.