Disability Discrimination Issues and Resolving Conflict at Work

If you are employed in California and have a disability, your workplace rights are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is a federal law, and also by the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which is a California state law.

The Americans with Disabilities Act will apply to you if you happen to have a mental or physical disability that limits the number and extent of the life activities that you can undertake. The disability can be a temporary one or permanent. The Act prohibits employers from treating you differently or discriminating against you on account of your disability.

The Fair Employment and Housing Act is geared towards employers with five or more employees and applies to people with permanent or temporary physical or mental disabilities.

In case you are experiencing discrimination in your workplace due to your disability, it will help to search online for “disability discrimination lawyer near me” and seek legal counsel.

The legal employment obligations of employers

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act and Fair Employment and Housing Act, employers in California cannot do the following:

• They cannot treat you differently during the job application and interviewing process.

• They cannot refuse to hire you on account of your disability, especially if you are qualified for the job and can do it.

• They cannot harass and belittle you on account of your disability.

• They cannot allow other employees to harass and bully you on account of your disability.

• They cannot treat you as if you are incapable of performing well in your job role.

• They cannot use the disability as a pretext to demote you from your position.

• They cannot stop you from availing of training opportunities due to the disability.

• They cannot terminate you from employment on account of the disability.

• They cannot refuse to accommodate your disability in the workplace.

They must make reasonable accommodations for your disability. These can include the following:

• Restructuring your job to make it more convenient for you to do the work.

• Offering you the opportunity to work part-time or to a more flexible work schedule.

• Allowing you to take frequent work breaks and leaves of absence.

• Allowing you to work from home.

• Offering you another less demanding work position.

Please keep in mind, though, that that doesn’t mean acquiescing to every demand you make. The employer is not legally obliged to accede to your accommodation requests if they are unreasonable and are likely to cause unwarranted difficulties to their business operations.

Resolving disability-related conflicts in the workplace

The following tips may help you to resolve disability-related conflicts in the workplace:

Discuss the matter with the offender

Often, people may not be aware that you are offended by their behavior and actions towards you and that it is causing you emotional distress. It will help to broach the matter and calmly explain that you would like your future interactions to be more mutually respectful. In many cases, people will apologize and change the way they behave towards you. Even if someone is a bully, they may alter their behavior if they see that you are willing to stand up for yourself.

Ask your work supervisor to mediate in the matter

If you are not confident about approaching the person yourself or if talking to them does not have the desired effect, ask your supervisor to step in and mediate in the matter. They may issue them a warning and that may stop them from bothering you.

Report the matter to your company’s human resources department

If the person persists in creating conflict, you or your supervisor should report the situation to the company’s human resources department. Most companies have employee handbooks and company policy statements that prohibit workplace harassment and bullying. They will enforce the company policy by taking appropriate action against the offender.

Get legal advice from a competent employment lawyer

Some companies may drag their feet about dealing with the matter or they may not treat it with sufficient seriousness. In that case, you can search online for “Disability Discrimination Lawyer Near Me” and hire one to file a workplace discrimination claim.

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