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.