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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