California law requires that employer make reasonable accommodation for the known disabilities of employees to enable them to perform the job’s essential functions unless doing so would produce undue hardship to the employer’s operations. This is an affirmative duty for employers to accommodate disabled workers. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (also known as FEHA) provides a list of possible accommodations including making facilities readily accessible for disabled employees, job restructuring, modifying work schedules, or even allowing an employee to work from home. Disability discrimination and employment lawyers ensure that employers in California will be held accountable for failing to provide reasonable accommodation for disabled employees.
FEHA Protects your Rights
In Doe Psychiatrist v. California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (“CDCR”), Plaintiff was a full time psychiatrist for CDCR since 2006. After medical leave of absence, Plaintiff informed the employer that she had ADHD and depression. She then asked for reasonable accommodations and presented the employer with a list of possible accommodations such as a more secluded and quiet place to work. CDCR refused to provide the accommodations. The employer notified the Plaintiff that she would need to decide whether to return to work or not. Plaintiff ended up being terminated shortly thereafter. Plaintiff retained an employment lawyer to represent her against the CDCR.
The employer argued that Plaintiff did not give the employer sufficient medical information to the employer, and that reasonable accommodation was already provided to the Plaintiff when she took a leave of absence. The jury did not buy the employer’s arguments. The jury awarded Plaintiff a gross verdict of over $1 million for employer’s failure to provide reasonable accommodations, and failure to engage in good faith in the interactive process.
Reasonable Accommodations in Today’s Workplace
Sadly, employers fail to provide employees with reasonable accommodation all the time. Many times employers may do this to cut costs. However, as the above case shows, employers will be held accountable for failing to provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodation. If your employer has failed to provide you with reasonable accommodation, contact an employment lawyer immediately.