Disability Discrimination

Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations. The ADA's nondiscrimination standards also apply to federal sector employees under section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, and its implementing rules. EEOC is again given task of enforcing these laws should an individual not desire to hire his/her own private counsel. EECOC’s site at http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/ada.html has the text of the law as it is currently on the books.

An individual with a disability is considered to be a person who:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities;
  • Has a record of such an impairment; or
  • Is regarded as having such an impairment ( perceived disability.)

A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the job in question.

Reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to:

  • Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
  • Job restructuring, modifying work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position;
  • Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies, and providing qualified readers or interpreters.

An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an "undue hardship" on the operation of the employer's business. Undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an employer's size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation.

An employer is not required to lower quality or production standards to make an accommodation; nor is an employer obligated to provide personal use items such as glasses or hearing aids.

Some of the nuances of the Act which could result in unwanted litigation are as follows:

  1. Employers may not ask job applicants about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability. Applicants may be asked about their ability to perform specific job functions. A job offer may be conditioned on the results of a medical examination, but only if the examination is required for all entering employees in similar jobs. Medical examinations of employees must be job related and consistent with the.

  2. Employees and applicants currently engaging in the illegal use of drugs are not covered by the ADA when an employer acts on the basis of such use. Tests for illegal drugs are not subject to the ADA's restrictions on medical examinations. Employers may hold illegal drug users and alcoholics to the same performance standards as other employees.

It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on disability or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under the ADA. Such actions will most likely subject the employer to liability for retaliatory conduct.

If you feel that you were denied a position due to your actual or perceived disability, or due to your refusal to answer questions about the same in an application, or have not been offered reasonable accommodation in light of your disability or you are an employer with questions about how you should treat a particular employee or general polices in Orange , Los Angeles, Riverside County or San Bernardino call 888-529-2188 for a free consultation with an Employment Law Team, www.employmentlawteam.com, attorney well versed in ADA.

Sex Based Discrimination/Harassment

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of sex as well as race, color, national origin, and religion. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government. A copy of the Title VII statue can be viewed on EEOC’s site at http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/vii.html.

Title VII makes it is unlawful to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of his/her sex in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. Title VII also prohibits employment decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals on the basis of sex. Title VII prohibits both intentional discrimination as well as neutral job policies that are not job related and disproportionately exclude individuals on the basis of sex. Title VII also covers compensation discrimination on the basis of sex.

Title VII further covers sexual harassment and pregnancy based discrimination. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII.