From his office in Hermosa Beach, Eugene Feldman, Attorney at Law, represents people throughout Southern California who have suffered disability discrimination in the workplace. Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employment discrimination based on disability, and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations when necessary to assist people with disabilities in the performance of their duties. Gene Feldman helps people identify reasonable accommodations and work with their employer to find a feasible solution. When employees experience a negative job action due to their disability, Gene Feldman works to right that wrong through the judicial process.

Disability Discrimination

This area of the law encompasses any type of job action, from screening, interviewing, and hiring applicants, to promotions, raises, transfers and assignments, to layoffs and discharge. Any adverse decision which disfavors an individual because of a disability is likely an example of illegal discrimination under the ADA. A lawsuit or complaint against the illegal action can reverse the unfavorable action and require the payment of money damages. For instance, the court may order an employee who was wrongfully discharged to be reinstated and provided with back pay with interest.

Reasonable Workplace Accommodations

The ADA protects a qualified individual with a disability against discrimination in employment. A qualified individual with a disability is someone who can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation. Whether a particular function is truly essential or not depends upon a number of factors, and is a disputed matter in many cases. The employer is sometimes given deference in defining the essential functions of the job, especially if those job functions have been previously established in a written job description.

A reasonable accommodation could include modifying a work schedule or purchasing software to enable the disabled employee to do the job. There are a variety of factors to consider in determining what constitutes a reasonable accommodation in the employment context, including:

  • The cost to the employer
  • The time it will take to implement
  • How effective the accommodation is
  • Other alternatives
  • The existence of less expensive alternatives

Arriving at a reasonable accommodation involves an interactive process between the employer and employee to find a solution that is feasible for the employer and meets the needs of the employee. The employer has an affirmative duty to facilitate this interactive process. Failing or refusing to engage in this process can constitute illegal discrimination under the ADA.

Anatomy of a Claim

Generally speaking, the first step in an ADA claim is to file a complaint with the regional office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This complaint must be filed in a timely manner, usually within six months of the discriminatory action, or you may be barred from filing a complaint. The EEOC then has a period of time to investigate the complaint and decide whether to negotiate a settlement or bring an enforcement action against the employer.

If the EEOC decides not to file a lawsuit against the employer, it will issue a "right to sue" letter to the employee, who can then institute a private civil suit against the employer, seeking reinstatement, back pay with interest, or other money damages or appropriate relief. Once in court, the employee has the burden to prove that he or she was unlawfully discriminated against by the employer and suffered legal damages.

The Right Help From the Right Lawyer

In addition to the ADA, there are many state laws which prohibit discrimination based on disability, such as the Unruh Act (California Civil Code Section 51 et seq.), the Disabled Persons Act (Section 54 et seq.), the Ralph Act (Section 51.7), and the Fair Employment and Housing Act. A disability discrimination complaint can therefore be lodged before different state or federal agencies, and a lawsuit may be filed in either state or federal court, when appropriate. Attorney Eugene Feldman has the knowledge, skills, and abilities based on more than 20 years experience in the law to pursue a claim before the appropriate court or agency and obtain a favorable result for his clients. If you have been discriminated against at work, or if you need help obtaining a reasonable accommodation from your employer, contact Eugene Feldman, Attorney at Law, for immediate assistance.

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