A Top Rated Employment Law Firm in Fullerton, California
Employees throughout California have entrusted our attorneys for decades. Stephen Danz and Associates focuses on representing individuals who have been discriminated against or wrongfully terminated. To ensure proper coverage, our lawyers cover cities in Northern California and Southern California as the State’s courts are as specialized and diverse as the State’s landscape. In Fullerton, California, our legal counselors are highly specialized and handle complex employment lawsuits where private individuals utilize our unparalleled experience and resources to bring forth their cases in local, state and federal courts.
The three most common laws prohibiting disability discrimination in California are (1) the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 USC §§12101–12213), (2) the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 USC §§701–796l) and (3) the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (Govt C §§12900–12996). Please see the following helpful information and let us know should you have any questions.
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (42 USC §§12101–12213) was enacted in 1990 and prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in employment, public services, and public accommodations. It focuses on the following areas:
(1) Providing a clear and comprehensive national mandate to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities;
(2) Informing with clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standards addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities; and
(3) Ensuring that the federal government plays a central role in enforcing the standards established in the ADA.
The ADA is drastically different from other civil rights legislation in that it not only prohibits discrimination but also requires employers (and other affected individuals and entities) to provide, at their own expense, “reasonable accommodation” for disabled employees.
Who is Liable for ADA Violations?
The ADA prohibits any “covered entity” from discriminating against a qualified individual with a disability. The term “covered entity” includes the following:
(2) Employment agencies;
(3) Labor organizations; and
(4) Join labor-management committees.
What Types of Employers does the ADA Apply To?
The ADA applies to any employer (or agent of an employer) engaged in an industry affecting commerce that has at least 15 employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year. But, the following are NOT considered “employers” under the ADA:
(1) The United States and its wholly-owned corporations;
(2) Native American tribes; and
(3) Bonafide private membership clubs exempt from taxation under IRC §501(c).
Are Individuals Liable for ADA Violations?
No. Individuals (such as supervisors and coworkers) are not personally liable under the ADA for their acts of disability discrimination.
Who Is Protected under the ADA?
A covered entity may not discriminate against a “qualified individual on the basis of disability” under the current ADA law.
What is a “Qualified Individual” under the ADA?
A “qualified individual” is “an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position that such individual holds or desires.” 42 USC §12111(8). If a disabled individual cannot perform the essential function of the position (even with reasonable accommodation), then the employee is not a “qualified individual” entitled to the ADA’s protections. The determination as to whether an employee is a qualified individual is made at the time of the adverse employment decision. To meet this definition, the individual must satisfy two-steps:
(1) The requisite skill, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the employment position that the individual holds or desires; and
(2) The ability to perform the essential functions of the position, either with or without reasonable accommodation.
What is Reasonable Accommodation?
A qualified individual with a disability must be able to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. Accordingly, if the individual cannot perform the essential functions of the job even with reasonable accommodation, that individual is not “qualified” and therefore not protected by the ADA.
What is considered “Disability” under the ADA?
Every “qualified individual with a disability” is protected under the ADA. Types of “Disability”:
(1) A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the individual’s major life activities;
(2) A record of such an impairment; or
(3) Being regarded as having such an impairment.
What is Disability Based on Physical or Mental Impairment?
An individual qualifies as “disabled” under the ADA if he or she has (1) a physical or mental impairment that (2) substantially limits (3) one or more major life activities.
What is “Physical or Mental Impairment” According to the EEOC?
Under the EEOC’s regulations, physical impairment is one of the following:
(1) Any physiological disorder or condition;
(2) Cosmetic disfigurement; or
(3) Anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genito-urinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.
A mental impairment is any mental or psychological disorder, such as an intellectual disability (formerly called mental retardation), organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, or specific learning disabilities.