In September of 2000, Gov. Gray Davis signed Assembly Bill AB 2222 into law, expanding protection for disabled workers under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). While disabled workers were already protected under federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), FEHA broadened the definition of both mental and physical disability so as to provide California employees with added protection not available under federal law.
Under AB 2222 and FEHA, a mental or physical disability need only limits a major life activity as opposed to “substantially limit,” as set forth under the terms of the ADA. As a consequence, more mental and physical disabilities are protected under California’s FEHA than the ADA.
Additionally, FEHA requires employers to provide a reasonable accommodation in a timely manner for disabled employees, as well as to engage in a good faith, interactive process to ascertain the nature of the disability and whether a reasonable accommodation is necessary. There are other requirements under FEHA that limit what employers can and cannot do, including certain prohibitions against disability investigations or examinations on the part of employers.
At the law office of Shanberg, Stafford & Bartz LLP, our disability discrimination attorneys can explain how FEHA affects employers and employees in matters related to discrimination in the workplace. Regardless of whether discrimination involves age, race, religion or disability, understanding what California law mandates is essential in evaluating a cause of action and allegations of discrimination.
Confronting Discrimination In The Workplace
Our job discrimination attorney advises and represents clients regarding the following kinds of alleged discrimination in the workplace:
Disability, both mental and physical
Unequal pay for equal work
Denial of a promotion based on race, sex or age
Firings or layoffs based on race, sex or age
Denial of full and equal accommodations based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability or medical condition
Different treatment for pregnant women or people with cancer
Reasonable Accommodation And The Interactive Process Under FEHA
Before FEHA was modified by AB 2222, employers were required to make reasonable accommodation for employees with physical or mental disabilities unless doing so placed undue hardship on the employer’s operations. After AB 2222, employers must now make a good faith, timely effort to interact with disabled employees in order to make appropriate accommodations for them when requested to do so. Under FEHA, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse to engage in the interactive process in making accommodations for a disabled employee or applicant.
While employers must make a good faith effort to enter into discussions with a disabled employee about their accommodations, employees are also required to make a good faith effort to participate in these discussions. As such, employers can ask employees to provide medical certification of their disability and may ask to work directly with an employee’s doctor throughout the accommodation process.
Contact Us Today
For more information regarding discrimination in the workplace, contact Newport Beach disability discrimination attorneys at Shanberg, Stafford & Bartz LLP at 800-519-9810 or with this online form.