Articles Posted in Disability Law

Rancho Cucamonga employment lawyers know that for most people, work ethic is important. stethascopeimage.jpg

Rancho Cucamonga employment litigation lawyers also know, however, that life circumstances sometimes get in the way of your ability to do your best. For example, if one of your parents requires kidney dialysis or maybe your child needs regular physical therapy.

If you find yourself consistently ducking out of work for these type of medical issues, you may want to consider taking some time to regroup.

Discrimination can happen anywhere. Most commonly it happens in the workplace — people may be hired or fired not based on their abilities or work performance, but based on race, sexual preference, disability, national origin or other factors.

Those are unlawful reasons to fire someone or not hire someone. And that type of discrimination in Newport Beach must be fought.
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But the job market isn’t the only place you may find discrimination. As our Newport Beach discrimination lawyers have reported in recent months, discrimination outside the workplace can lead to major changes with businesses as well as municipalities.

In August, a woman sued Bloomingdale’s after alleging that a male employee wouldn’t serve her when she attempting to buy a men’s shirt for her upcoming wedding. A lawsuit states that the man scoffed at her and told her she shouldn’t be buying men’s clothes for herself.

In October, we reported that a city in Georgia had to re-do its policies about headgear in the courthouse after a woman sued and later settled with the city after her headscarf was torn from her head by a security guard. In that case, the Muslim woman was attempting to show support to a relative and was arrested because she refused to remove her headscarf.

In the news recently was another example of problems with discrimination. According to a study by the Williams Institute at UCLA, a survey of 612 dentist offices in the Los Angeles area found that five percent of dental providers have a policy of denying service to HIV-positive people.

Many surveyed claimed that they don’t have the needed precautions to control infections. Another five percent admitted they would treat HIV-positive patients differently, in ways that could violate anti-discrimination laws, The Huffington Post reports.

While this is a relatively small percentage, it still shows that discrimination exists in our society. On a positive note, 90 percent of those surveyed said they wouldn’t discriminate. And dentistry’s numbers are far lower than other industries surveyed by the organization — 55 percent of obstetricians and 46 percent of skilled-nursing facilities and 26 percent of plastic surgeons admitted to refusing treatment.

While there is room for improvement, the researchers were happy with the results, opining that two decades of exposure to HIV and AIDS and the progress of information about the illnesses has helped change the culture of discrimination against this group.

Our lawyers agree that while 90 percent is good, 100 percent would be better. No group should face discrimination based on their medical records, skin tone, gender or other factors. The only way to stop discrimination is to fight against it. Allowing it to happen and doing nothing only allows the culture to continue. It has taken decades to break down barriers and our Newport Beach employment lawyers will continue working toward that goal.
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A case out of Puerto Rico recently shows the challenge that persons with disabilities have at work as well as trying to show they have faced discrimination in the workplace.

In Ramos-Echevarria v. Pichis Inc., a worker who suffers from epilepsy claimed that his employer discriminated against him because he was denied a full-time position. He claims it was because of his disability, but two courts have ruled against him.
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There are both state and federal protections for people with disabilities in California. Under disability discrimination laws in Newport Beach, workers who are otherwise qualified for a job but who suffer from a physical or mental disability can’t be denied employment simply because of the impairment.

And California residents also have federal protection from disability discrimination as well. Private employers, state and local governments, and others aren’t allowed to discriminate against the disabled, including hiring, firing, compensation, advancement, training and other areas of employment.

In this difficult economy, our Irvine employment lawyers feel for those who are rejected for jobs based on their disability. We will stand by their side and demand justice.

In this case, Ramos-Echevarria suffers from epilepsy, and according to court documents has nine to 16 “episodes” a week where he will see an “aura” before his body convulses for eight to 15 seconds. After that, his cognitive abilities are impaired and sometimes for a period after.

He was a part-time kitchen assistant since 1999, assisting with food preparation. He had a similar position since 2002 with another restaurant. Between three and six times a year his seizures cause him to leave work, but most of the time he stabilizes himself until they pass.

When he was first hired — he told the company about his illness on his application — his boss fired him after his first episode. He was told to bring in a doctor’s note stating that he can work despite the illness and he got one and was re-hired. Since then, he has never been denied medical assistance.

He claimed in his lawsuit that he has asked for full-time work but was told that he couldn’t get full-time work because of his condition. Others were hired after him and got full-time work while he still was stuck in a part-time role, despite his reviews being favorable.

The appeals court ruled that he failed to show that he has a disability within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore his claim should be dismissed. They agreed with the lower court ruling and dismissed his case.

Employment law is a complex area that must be handled by an experienced lawyer. While these laws provide protection for workers, there are specific elements that must be met in order to show that a person has faced discrimination for a disability. A Santa Ana employment lawyer can help.
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A federal judge recently ruled that Mexican fast food chain Taco Bell violated both federal and California laws protecting the disabled from discrimination at its restaurants, the Associated Press reports.

While this ruling is based on customer complaints, the same goes for employees at companies where they don’t provide the proper access for people with disabilities. And job-seekers who are disabled should get equal access to job opportunities as able-bodied prospective employees as well.
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While there have been great strides made in terms of improvements for those who have difficulties getting around based on physical or mental issues, disability discrimination in Orange County is still a serious problem. Whether intentional or not, many businesses simply don’t do enough to ensure disabled Americans have the same opportunities as others.

Financial reasons or otherwise, it doesn’t matter. All Americans should have the same chance at jobs and in commerce, regardless of their circumstances. An Orange County employment lawyer, with experience in handling discrimination matters must be consulted in order to determine the extent of the discrimination.

According to the federal judge’s ruling, the 220 stores in California must undergo major changes in order to ensure its customers with wheelchairs and scooters be accommodated. The judge must also decide how much money the victims in the lawsuit must receive.

The customers filed the class-action lawsuit in 2002, alleging that the California stores didn’t offer proper handicap parking, wheelchair-accessible restrooms and tables and other requirements for disabled patrons. Taco Bell could appeal the ruling, though a company spokesman declined comment to the news wire service.

The customers are represented by a Denver attorney who filed a lawsuit against the fast food chain in 2000 which was settled and resulted in the company agreeing to improve its restaurants.

Taco Bell argued throughout the life of this lawsuit that it had fixed many of the alleged violations during the last nine years, which includes compliance with a 2007 judge’s order to fix issues with lines, tables and doors. But the judge said the company is still out of compliance in many areas and hasn’t even followed its own policies and has shown a history of not doing so.

The ruling by the federal judge came after a week-long trial without a jury looking at a San Pablo store specifically as an example of the rest of the company’s stores in California.

While this particular lawsuit applies to customers, employees or potential employees have the same rights as customers regarding disability access. Any person who gets a job with a company must have the same access to equipment as anyone else.

A person also shouldn’t be disqualified for a job based on their disability. Obviously, a person in a wheelchair probably wouldn’t make a good professional football player, but that is a specialized skill set unlike a fast food chain cashier or department store customer service representative. The skills of a person, not their physical ability should be the criteria for hiring and firing, though sometimes it isn’t.
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A wrongful termination lawsuit in Los Angeles has been filed by the former spokesman for the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Our San Bernardino wrongful termination attorneys fight for the rights of clients who have been unjustly terminated from their jobs. In many cases, including those where tenure, or a municipal or union job is involved, an employee may have rights beyond the at-will employment arrangement. And, even when employment is at-will, employees have rights that prevent an employer from terminating them for reporting dangerous work conditions, discrimination, violation of employment laws and other unfair working conditions.
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The Los Angeles Times reports the employee accuses court administrators of discriminating against him because of a long-time mental illness. He filed a formal complain last month with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, claiming he was fired after they learned of his “chronic severe depression.” The suit says the condition had worsened and doctors recommended he take a second leave of absence in less than a year.

He claims he was fired after being placed on administrative leave for three weeks, over what he said were false allegations that he leaked information to TMZ, the gossip website.

His filing states that his lawyers disclosed that his mental condition had worsened and that he needed short-term disability leave. He was fired 10 days later.

State and federal law protects employees from disability discrimination in Orange County and elsewhere. Those who are discriminated against based on physical or mental disabilities may have a right to collect damages. In fact, California law provides that a disability need only “limit” a major life activity, not “substantially limit,” as required under federal law. Therefore, more impairments will qualify for relieve under state law.
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In the case of Nadaf-Rahrov v. Neiman Marcus 166 Cal.App.4th at 952, a California Court of Appeal reversed the trial judge’s decision which had held that an employer “was not required to wait indefinitely for [the employee’s] medical condition to improve” so that she could perform an available job. Plaintiff in the Neimen Marcus case had allegedly told her employer that she was “prohibited from performing work of any kind.” Court of Appeal saw the case differently. According to the Court of Appeal the federal rule in asking employers to allow employees to show that they could perform the work in a vacant position with or without a reasonable accommodation. The court agreed that the position must exist and be vacant. The court concluded that the there was no evidence that the alleged statement that the employee could not perform any work was made at the time of her termination so there could have been jobs that she could have performed when terminated. Of course this ruling does not change the fact that employers still need not provide an accommodation to a disabled employee if that accommodation would cause the employer “undue hardship.” FEHA defines undue hardship as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when the : cost and nature, the overall resources of the employer, type of employer’s operation, financial resources of employer are considered. However, it does make it clear that the employer must on an ongoing fashion monitor its situation to ensure that the “undue hardship” still exists. Orange County disability discrimination attorneys of Employment Law Team can evaluate the facts of each case and advise potential clients on whether there has been a violation of FEHA, FMLA or other statutes.