Category Archives: Disability

Work Disability Discrimination Case Law

Injuries and diseases happen all the time, and sometimes it can affect a person’s normal day to day activity, such as their job. Under California law, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate or take adverse action (such as demotion, cut in pay, or termination) against an employee based on his or her disability if that employee can be reasonably accommodated. Under the law, the definition of disability is broad. A disability can include any physical or psychological disability.

Even more interesting is that an employee is protected from disability discrimination due to a perceived impairment that is disabling, potentially disabling, or perceived to be disabling. Therefore, if your employer assumes you are disabled, even if you are not, and terminates you based on that incorrect assumption, the employer may have broken the law. If you are an employee suffering from a disability and you believe your employer fired you because of the disability, contact a disability discrimination lawyer immediately.

Disability Case Review – Leggins v. Thrifty Payless Inc.

Leggins is a case out of the Superior Court of Los Angeles, and provides a good example of what an employer should not do when an employee has a disability. Plaintiff was a store manager for the employer for 30 years. Plaintiff suffered a neck injury as he was trying to stop a robbery in his store. Plaintiff had to have several surgeries due to the neck injury. Once he returned to work, he requested to be moved to a different location where he would do less physically demanding work. However, nothing was done.

Sadly, Plaintiff had another injury which made his neck injury even worse. Plaintiff was eventually transferred, but the manager there would give him work that exceeded the limitations of his injury. Even after Plaintiff complained to the manager that he cannot perform the work due to his injury, the manager gave him even more of the physically demanding work. Soon after the transfer and working with this new manager, Plaintiff was fired.

The case went all the way to trial, and the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff. The jury found that the employer did indeed discriminate against the Plaintiff based on his disability. The jury awarded the plaintiff over $8,000,000 in damages.

Contact a Discrimination Lawyer

At the end of the day, cases such as Leggins show that the law and the California judicial system is fair and just. Further, it bolsters the ability of California employees to hold their employers accountable for violating the law. If you have a disability and you feel your employer is taking adverse action against you because of your disability, contact a discrimination lawyer as soon as possible! Visit our disability discrimination lawyer page for details on hiring a attorney if you already feel you have a case.

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Case Verdict – Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Under California law employers cannot discriminate against an employee based on a disability. Under FEHA (The California Fair Employment and Housing Act), it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis a physical or mental disability which also includes medical conditions. This is typically called disability discrimination. Thus, it would be unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee because of a physical or mental disability. Here is a detailed whiteboard video on this area of law.

What is a physical or mental disability?

But what is a physical and mental disability? A physical disability is a disability, disease, condition, or disfigurement that limits the person from taking part in major life activities. Similarly, a mental disability is disorder, mental illness, or learning disability that limits the person from taking part in major life activities. Examples of a physical and mental disabilities include, but are not limited to, heart disease, depression, bipolar disorder, diabetes, injuries to the ligament, and post-traumatic stress disorder. If you have a disability and you feel that your employer is discriminating against you due to your disability, call a disability discrimination attorney for a free consultation.

Vasquez v. Los Angeles County of Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Vasquez is a fairly recent case that provides a good example of what an employer should not do when it comes to an employee having a disability. Plaintiff was a bus driver for the LA County Metro, the defendant. Sadly, the plaintiff had many different kinds of disabilities, such as diabetes, a hip condition, and gout. Due to all of these disabilities, plaintiff would miss work occasionally. After almost four years of employment with the defendant, plaintiff was fired for poor attendance even though most of his absences were due to plaintiff’s various disabilities.

Plaintiff argued that the defendant wrongfully terminated him because of his many disabilities. Defendant argued that the absences were legitimate and that he was fired in violation of the attendance policy. The jury sided with the plaintiff. The jury awarded the plaintiff a total verdict of almost $2 million dollars.

Contact a Disability Discrimination Attorney for a Free Consultation

At the end of the day, Vasquez shows that the California courts are holding employers who break the law accountable for their actions. If you think your employer has terminated you because of a disability, whether it be physical or mental, then please call our office for a free consultation with a disability discrimination lawyer. If you know a little about this area of law, you’ve probably heard about reasonable accommodations. Read more about those here.

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Racial Harassment in the Workplace

It is unlawful for an employer to harass another employee based on that employee’s race. An employee can show that he or she is being harassed for race if the employee is a member of a protected class (in this case the protected class is race), employee experienced unwelcome harassment at work due to his or her race, and the harassment severely interfered with his or her employment as it created a abusive working environment.

Racial harassment is very similar to sexual harassment, except the protected category is race rather than sex.

What is Racial Harassment?

Racial harassment occurs when there is racial or ethnic slurs, the distribution of racially offensive writings, and even treating a person differently and poorly because of that person’s race, and the harassment must be routine and repeated. But each case is different. Racial comments may be harassment in one case, but not in another case. You need to speak with an employment lawyer to find out if what you went through constitutes legal harassment.

The below video is all about hostile work environments (which includes race harassment). It provides a fantastic overview of CA’s law.

What Is the Employer’s Responsibility?

If the employee complains to the employer about racial discrimination or harassment, the employer has a duty to prevent further occurrences and remedy the harassment. If the employer fails to prevent it from happening again, then the employer may become legally liable for any damages that result. An employer is usually automatically liable if a supervisor is the one doing the harassing.

Race Harassment Example Case: Duffy v. City of Los Angeles

Here is an interesting case to come out the state court docket this year. Plaintiff was a Caucasian/white male who worked as a gardener for the City, the defendant. He was employed with the defendant for nineteen years. For the last several years of his employment, Plaintiff was experiencing racial harassment in the workplace for being white by his co-workers. On one occasion, one of his Hispanic co-workers told him that he hates white people and would never offer Plaintiff assistance in the workplace.

The harassment increased after Plaintiff was injured on the job. The defendant denied all of this and basically argued that it never happened. The jury unanimously found in favor of the Plaintiff for disability and racial harassment among other things and awarded the Plaintiff a gross verdict of over $3,000,000.

Duffy v. City of LA just goes to show that the laws protect everyone regardless of their race. At the end of the day, if you are being discriminated and harassed in the workplace, and you think it is because of your race or national origin, contact an employee rights attorney for a free consultation.

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Your Right to Receive Reasonable Accommodations Due to Disability in the Workplace

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.

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Disabling Employers’ From Breaking the Law: Disability Discrimination in the Workplace and Rodriguez v. Valley Vista Services Inc.

California law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of a physical disability, mentally disability, or medical condition. Under the law, a mental disability include any mental or psychological disorder including, but not limited to, emotional or mental illness, clinical depression, and bipolar disorder. Thus, a California employer may not base the following employment decision’s on a person’s mental disability: refuse to hire the person, fire the person from employment, or discriminate against the persons in the amount of compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.

In Rodriguez v. Valley Vista Services Inc., plaintiff requested to take a leave of absence and reasonable accommodations as she was suffering from a mental disability in the form of severe panic attacks. She was placed on leave of absence by her doctor. Oddly enough, plaintiff was terminated within one month of making her leave and accommodation request. After being a model employee for the defendant for roughly seven years, plaintiff was terminated from employment allegedly due to “job abandonment.” Plaintiff subsequently sued her former employer and brought causes of action for disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, retaliation and wrongful termination among other things.

Defendants argued that plaintiff used company e-mail to promote her babysitting gig, and that she failed to report to work for a week and refused to contact her employer thereby causing her to be terminated. Yet, the jury did not buy defendants’ arguments. After a deliberation time of three days, the jury returned a stunning verdict of $21.8 million in favor of the plaintiff.

At the end of the day, a verdict this large reaffirms California employees’ rights in the workplace. Such a large figure sends a message to employers to do what they should be doing all along: abide by the law. If you have a mental or physical disability, or a medical condition, and your employer will not reasonably accommodate you, or your believe your employer has terminated, demoted, or cut your benefits due to your disability, contact an employment lawyer immediately.

Please note, Mr. Robertson was not involved in this case in anyway and this page should not be considered a guarantee or promise as to the outcome of your case.

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