Under the prevailing Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employees who have physical or mental disabilities are protected against discrimination by their employers. The said California statute defines such a protected class as “disabled” if their disabilities make it difficult for them to perform a major life activity, such as standing, walking, sitting, and the like.
But then, a lot of FEHA-covered employers continue to disregard the rights of the specific protected class. Fortunately for them, they are entitled to seek representation from a Los Angeles employment lawyer or otherwise file discrimination claims with various state or federal agencies against erring employers for failing to provide them with reasonable accommodations or subjecting them to certain employment actions that go against their rights as individuals in the workplace.
In order for California employers to avoid facing raps against their employers, it is best that they avoid them completely by doing the following:
- Employers must provide managerial employees, from managers to supervisors, training about what to do in case employees would want to request for reasonable accommodations. Training must include knowing if employees’ disabilities hinder their ability to perform work.
- Employers must make it a habit to conduct the interactive process in providing accommodations to their employees with disabilities, as long as there are any that can be made to allow the latter to perform their jobs.
- Employers fail to uphold the FEHA by not following the orders’ of the disabled employees’ doctors on certain restrictions (e.g. light work, no heavy lifting of objects of certain weight). To avoid this, employers must be able to focus on the interactive process so that they know what accommodations they can give to employees based on the work restrictions they have.
- Employers must constantly remind supervisors to seek help from the human resources department in case they are faced with certain complex issues with regards to employees’ disabilities.
- Employers must treat leaves as a reasonable accommodation that is independent from leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and sick leaves sponsored by them.
Taking into considerations those listed above helps employers to avoid encountering legal process that entails facing disability discrimination claims from their aggrieved employees. Indeed, it is better for California employers follow the provisions set forth by the FEHA for workers with disabilities instead of having to willfully break them and face unnecessary disruptions to their daily operations.