Disability discrimination lawyers represent workers who have been fired, demoted, disqualified, harassed, or otherwise discriminated against due to their physical or mental disabilities.
Through aggressive negotiation and litigation, our disability discrimination attorneys fight for job reinstatement, reasonable job accommodations, and compensation for lost wages and pain and suffering. Most cases settle out of court, but if necessary, we will take the case to trial in pursuit of the highest compensatory- and punitive damages possible
Can employers discriminate against me for being disabled?
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), employers may not discriminate against “qualified” employees or job applicants because of their physical or mental disabilities. You are “qualified” if you can perform all of a job’s essential functions with or without reasonable accommodations.
So if you apply for a job, the employer must evaluate you without regard to your disabilities. Employers also cannot ask you about your disability – just whether you are capable of performing the job duties.
Discrimination based on disability can take many forms, including:
- Disqualifying you from consideration for a job or training program;
- Requiring you to take a medical or psychological test that other job applicants are not mandated to take;
- Demoting you, denying you a promotion, or reducing your pay;
- Harassing you or creating a hostile work environment;
- Failing to provide you reasonable accommodations (unless it would be an undue hardship).1
Is my disability protected under the ADA?
The ADA protects people living with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of their major life activities. Common covered medical conditions include:
- Intellectual disabilities (such as Down Syndrome) or autism
- Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), or major depressive disorder
- Being in a wheelchair
- Missing limbs
- Deafness or blindness
- Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy.2
How do I prove disability discrimination?
Document all the instances where you believe you are being discriminated against based on your disability. Be sure to include the dates, times, locations, and all major details.
In addition, compile all of the following evidence (if possible):
- emails, texts, or voicemails by coworkers or bosses that indicate discriminatory intent
- memos or other internal documents that indicate discrimination is occurring
- names of co-workers who witnessed your discrimination and are willing to testify
- audio or video recordings of the discrimination
- anything else that can help prove your case
It is much easier to prove discrimination occurred when you can produce evidence to back up your claims.
What is the legal process like?
In some cases, it may be possible to avoid legalities by first talking with a supervisor or the HR department. But if they cannot put a stop to your disability discrimination, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and/or with the equivalent government agency in your state.
At this point, you are usually offered dispute resolution services (such as mediation) to try to resolve the matter. If no agreement can be reached, and if the state agency finds that there is no violation of your rights, then you can proceed with filing a discrimination lawsuit against the employer.
First, your attorney would serve the employer with a complaint. The employer would then have a certain number of days to answer the complaint. Eventually “discovery” would begin, which is when both sides produce relevant evidence. And if the case does not resolve with a settlement (which is rare), the court would hold a trial.
Each state has a statute of limitations for bringing disability discrimination lawsuits, so be sure to contact an attorney right away.
What money would I get?
Depending on the circumstances of your disability discrimination case, you may be eligible for the following remedies:
- back pay and front pay (with interest)
- wages you would have received if you were not wrongly denied a raise, promotion, or bonus (with interest)
- benefits (including pensions)
- pain and suffering
- emotional distress
- punitive damages
- attorneys’ fees
- court costs for bringing the lawsuit
- job reinstatement (if you wish to continue working for the employer)
- reasonable accommodations (such as more medical leave than the FMLA provides, better work schedules, etc.)3
How can a disability discrimination lawyer help me?
Our disability discrimination lawyers handle the entire legal process so you do not have to. This includes:
- investigating the case in search of all the relevant evidence in your favor;
- negotiating with your employer for a favorable resolution out-of-court;
- (if necessary) litigating the case to trial in pursuit of the highest monetary award possible; and
- shielding you from the employer’s bullying tactics so you can get on with your life as we continue to fight for your rights.
The deck is always stacked against disabled workers in any legal action involving workplace discrimination. But having experienced employment lawyers helps even the playing field and maximizes the odds of you getting the best settlement possible.
For legal advice and a case evaluation, contact our disability discrimination attorneys. Our employment law firm serves clients throughout California, and our practice areas include all types of employment discrimination claims, harassment claims, and wrongful termination claims.