Articles Tagged with disability discrimination

Those who suffer from mental illness, especially a severe one, may be no stranger to difficulties with employment. You should know, however, there are certain legal protections that prevent your employer from taking adverse action against you solely because of your condition. bipolar worker termination lawyer

One bail bond services company in Southern California discovered this recently, having settled a disability discrimination lawsuit for $110,000. The settlement was reached more than a year after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed its complaint, asserting the company discriminated against the worker when it fired her without attempting to provide reasonable accommodation – as required by the law – when she requested a leave of absence to obtain medical attention for her untreated bipolar disorder. This, the EEOC alleged, was a violation of federal law – specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Continue reading

California disability discrimination in employment happens when an employer takes unfavorable action (or no action at all) an employee or applicant because of his or her disability, despite the fact they are qualified for the job.  As noted by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, companies also aren’t allowed to treat a worker – prospective or otherwise – any differently just because they have a history of a disability or the employer’s belief or perception of a disability. The same is true if the employee or applicant has some type of relationship with someone who has a disability. disability discrimination attorney

Not only this, but as our Los Angeles disability discrimination attorneys can explain, employers are obligated to extend reasonable accommodations in the event the worker or employee has a disability, the only exception being that to do so would be a source of undue hardship (i.e., significant expense or difficulty for the employer).

Failure to do follow the law can result in a disability discrimination lawsuit, with compensatory and possibly punitive damages paid to plaintiff, as well as government fines for violation of state law. Continue reading

A woman once employed by Tiffany & Co. alleges the jewelry maker forced her out of work after she underwent surgery to remove her ovaries and breasts to avoid cancer.womenworking

Plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit asserting the company, based in New York, discriminated against her based on her age and gender after she had the surgeries, which her attorney described as “life-saving.” Prior to the surgery, plaintiff learned she carried a genetic mutation that put her at high risk of developing these specific type of cancers, according to BusinessofFashion.com. You may recall two years ago, Actress Angelina Jolie revealed she had surgery to remove both breasts and her ovaries after discovering she had this same BRCA1 gene. Jolie’s mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer at age 56, while her grandmother died of it at age 45 and her mother’s sister died of the disease at the age of 61. Presence of the gene typically puts women at a 50 percent higher risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.

Meanwhile, plaintiff in this employment lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Rhode Island, says that while she is seeking damages, she said she wants people to know the company treated her as if she’d done something wrong after she took decisive measures to save her own life. Continue reading

The Americans With Disabilities Act requires that workers or applicants not be discriminated against on the basis of a disability, so long as the worker is able to perform the essential functions of the job with reasonable modifications. This is not a blanket requirement that companies accept all workers with disabilities. The caveat that workers must be able to perform essential functions is crucial.headset

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit pointed out in a recent opinion, “The reality is there are some jobs that a person with disabilities are simply unable to perform.” That was deemed to be the case for plaintiff in this instance.

According to court records, plaintiff worked for a telecommunications firm in Tennessee at a call center, where her job as a customer service representative involved answering incoming calls and helping customers with billing and technical support problems. In order to answer those calls, plaintiff had to be physically present at her workstation and logged into the computer. She worked eight-hour shifts, and rotated every six months. During these shifts, customer service representatives had to remain at their work stations, except to use the restroom, to take a half-hour lunch and two pre-scheduled 15-minute breaks. There was no requirement for a per-day minimum, but most representatives generally took on 40 to 50 calls per shift.  Continue reading

A man with autism has filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against a fast-food restaurant chain and its parent company, alleging he was denied a job due to his disability.foodservice

The lawsuit, filed in Illinois where the incident occurred, alleges the 25-year-old had recently completed a work-study program at a different restaurant in late 2013. The manager who oversaw his duties reported he worked capably and diligently, but the employment ended when the work-study program had finished. At that point, plaintiff hired a job coach to help him find a full-time job. The following summer, both he and his job coach went to a Chick-Fil-A restaurant and requested an application for employment. At the time, the manager was not available.

Later, the job coach went back to the restaurant and talked to the manager. It was at that time she allegedly informed the job coach that the restaurant was, “Not interested in hiring people with disabilities,” adding that those with challenges such as what plaintiff faced “do not succeed” in their company atmosphere. Continue reading

The nation’s largest chain retailer is facing a disability discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a former employee with Down syndrome, who had worked for the company for 15 years prior. shoppingcart

Of course, disability discrimination isn’t limited to those who have this diagnosis, but it is one of the more visible conditions. Most people can tell right away when someone has the condition, and it’s often used as a basis to deny employment or refuse advancement opportunities – even in cases where the individual is qualified for the essential functions of the job. In fact, employment discrimination of people with Down syndrome was common until fairly recently. Much of these discriminatory actions are based on misinformation and prejudice.

Down syndrome is a genetic chromosome 21 disorder that causes a wide range of developmental delays and disabilities. Those who have Down syndrome share a distinct facial appearance, and generally all have some level of intellectual disability and developmental delays. They may also suffer from thyroid or heart disease. But again, it is a range. Although some with Down syndrome suffer profound disabilities, others are more than capable to work and live independently. Companies that discriminate against these workers solely on the basis of their condition can face legal consequences, including a court order to pay both compensatory and punitive damages.  Continue reading

Retail giant Wal-Mart has agreed to pay $75,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit that was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after the company allegedly broke federal discrimination laws in its treatment of a worker who had survived cancer.checkout

According to the EEOC, the worker was employed at a store in Illinois. After successfully undergoing treatment for cancer, she suffered some limitations that required accommodation at work. However, the retail company is accused of not extending her those accommodations and further not addressing harassment against her. In order to continue working, plaintiff needed a modified schedule and a chair. Management worked out a modified schedule fora time, but later revoked it without stating why. The store also refused to provide a chair in plaintiff’s work area, explaining she would have to be responsible for hauling the chair over from the furniture department to the area where she worked – a task that was next to impossible given her physical limitations. On top of this, plaintiff endured cruel remarks from a co-worker who went unpunished after calling her names like, “chemo brain” and, “cripple.”

This kind of alleged conduct is a clear violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which strictly bars discrimination against workers based on their disability. Discrimination can include the denial of a reasonable workplace accommodation to the employee. It can also mean subjecting them to a work environment that is hostile. Continue reading

National home improvement chain Lowe’s has agreed to pay nearly $9 million to settle a claim of disability discrimination alleged by regional attorneys at the EEOC’s Los Angles District Office.disabledkey

The North Carolina-based chain, which owns some 1,840 stores across the country, reportedly acted unlawfully by firing workers who had been on medical leave.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission‘s news release, the company violated the Americans With Disability Act (ADA) by terminating workers who had been on lengthy medical leave. Those who were fired had absences that exceeded the company’s internal 180- or 240-day maximum allowable leave policy. Continue reading

A sharply divided California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Eight, issued a decision allowing a plaintiff to proceed with his associational disability discrimination claim against his employer. This was a reversal of the trial court’s opinion in Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highways Express Inc., wherein a father alleged he was fired for his need to assist his disabled son. gaveljan

This kind of “association” discrimination is outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which bars discrimination against an employee based on their association or relationship with an individual who has a known disability. The provision in 42 U.S.C. 12112(b)(4) means a company is forbidden from taking adverse action against a worker simply for associating with or having a relationship with someone who is disabled.

Under the ADA, companies are required to give qualified workers with disabilities reasonable accommodations. However, federal courts have held in prior cases (see Tyndall, 4th Cir. 1994, Overly, 6th Cir. 2006) that this association discrimination provision doesn’t mean workers are entitled to employment modifications in order to care for a disabled spouse or child. Continue reading

In the 1980s, a diagnosis of HIV or AIDS was a death sentence. It was also essentially a license to discriminate, and employers did so frequently. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Although it has since become illegal to do so and the stigma surrounding the condition has waned, discrimination against HIV-positive workers continues. Some of it based in the misguided belief that the condition is associated with immoral behaviors or identities of which certain people may disapprove (i.e., drug use, sex work, homosexuality or infidelity). Other times, discrimination is perpetuated by a misunderstanding of how the disease is transmitted and who could be placed at risk.

In the U.S., taking adverse employment action against a worker because the worker is HIV-positive is a form of disability discrimination, and it’s illegal.