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California Employee Coronavirus/COVID-19 Disability Discrimination

California Employee Coronavirus/COVID-19 Disability Discrimination

California Employee Reasonable Accommodation COVID-19 Coronavirus

As California employees return to work, despite the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continuing, many people at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 may worry about compromising their health to satisfy their employer’s demands.  According to the CDC, people of any age with the following conditions are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:

Additionally, individuals with the following conditions may also be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:

Request for Reasonable Accommodation for Vulnerable Populations

As employers increasingly require California employees to return to work physically, vulnerable populations may exercise their right to protection in the face of the Coronavirus/COVID-19’s persistence.  Under the Fair Employment & Housing Act (“FEHA”), which is California’s version of the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must engage in an informal interactive process and provide reasonable accommodation to California employees with any of FEHA’s statutorily defined disabilities.  Gelfo v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 140 Cal. App. 4th 34, 55 (2006).  FEHA requires employers to provide a reasonable accommodation unless doing so creates undue hardship for the employer’s operation.  Nealy v. City of Santa Monica, 234 Cal. App. 4th 359, 373 (2015).  Not every California employee will be able to resort to FEHA.

To qualify for a reasonable accommodation, the underlying medical condition causing the employee to become a vulnerable population must be a disability under FHEA.  Not every condition that makes an employee a vulnerable population member is also a FEHA disability, including, for example, smoking. Generally, FEHA defines disability as a physical or mental disorder or condition that limit a major life activity. California Government Code § 12926. Where the California employee’s underlying medical condition qualifies as a disability, the employer must provide a reasonable accommodation, absent undue hardship to the employer.

California Employees Must Request Reasonable Accommodation When Disabled by Coronavirus/COVID-19

To exercise FEHA rights, California employees must request reasonable accommodation, preferably in writing.  The employer must engage in a good-faith interactive process meant to determine the best form of accommodation for the California employee.  The employer may request medical documentation from the employee that:

  1. Confirms the existence of the disability; and,
  2. Confirms the need for reasonable accommodation.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, California employees unable to visit the doctor may request that their employer excuses them from this requirement.

Disability Discrimination When California Employee Denied Reasonable Accommodation When Disabled by Coronavirus/COVID-19

An employer discriminates against a California employee when it:

California Employees Can Recover Coronavirus/COVID-19 Disability Discrimination Damages

A disabled California employee who suffers disability discrimination related to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic is entitled to recover back pay, including unpaid wages, benefits, and overtime, lost future income, reinstatement, civil penalties, and emotional distress damages.  California employers may not discriminate against vulnerable disabled employees and wish to protect themselves during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.  California employees who have suffered Coronavirus/COVID-19 disability discrimination damages have a right to recover in court.

If you believe that your employer violated FEHA by discriminating against you due to your Coronavirus/COVID-19-related disability, contact Astanehe Law.  Astanehe Law has experience representing disabled California employees who have been discriminated against and suffered retaliation because of their disability and accommodation requests.  Astanehe Law represents clients on a contingency fee basis.  Call us at (415) 226-7170 or email us at contact@astanehelaw.com.

No Upfront Costs for Coronavirus/COVID-19 Disability Discrimination Lawsuit

Astanehe Law offers contingency representation.  This attorney fee structure means Astanehe Law clients are not responsible for upfront attorney fees, and are not charged attorney fees until after obtaining a successful settlement or judgment.  There are no fees if there is no recovery.

Astanehe Law Knows Employee Rights

Michael M. Astanehe possesses a zeal for assisting California employees bring claims against employers. Mr. Astanehe is an aggressive litigator with several years of civil litigation experience. He is willing to take your case to trial if necessary. This ferocity ensures that Astanehe Law will obtain the highest recovery possible for each client.

Litigation is stressful. To that end, Mr. Astanehe provides each client with comprehensive legal service so that they remain fully informed and comfortable throughout the process. Astanehe Law strives to make litigation as stress-free as possible.

If you believe that your employer violated FEHA by discriminating against you due to your Coronavirus/COVID-19-related disability, contact Astanehe Law.  Astanehe Law has experience representing disabled California employees who have been discriminated against and suffered retaliation because of their disability and accommodation requests.  Astanehe Law represents clients on a contingency fee basis.  Call us at (415) 226-7170 or email us at contact@astanehelaw.com.

Astanehe Law Knows Your Rights

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