Call us today at (619) 528-9800 to schedule your free, initial consultation. We look forward to serving you.
In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibited discrimination in the workplace on the basis of religion, color, race, sex or national origin. Since then, federal and state courts have expanded discrimination laws to protect employees with health issues and disabilities from being treated differently in the workplace. Before you can understand your legal rights as an injured worker, it’s important to know if your condition qualifies you as a having a disability.
Who is protected from disability discrimination at work?
An individual is considered to have a disability if he or she has a mental or physical impairment that considerably limits major life activities such as seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, thinking, communicating, or learning. Covered individuals may include those with paralysis, epilepsy, or mental retardation, but not those with minor, non-chronic conditions like a broken bone or the flu. An individual is also protected if he or she has a history of impairment. For example, a person who once had breast cancer or bipolar disorder, but has now recovered. These protections apply to both job applicants and employees.
Know your rights as an injured worker
Anti-discrimination laws provide rights to job applicants and employees with lasting physical or mental impairments. Understanding these rights can help an injured worker avoid discrimination or take legal action against an employer who violates them. There are three federal laws that protect an injured worker from disability discrimination in the workplace.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination against employees due to a disability, perceived disability, or association with someone who has a disability. As part of prohibiting discrimination, an employer is required to grant reasonable accommodations to help a disabled worker apply for a job, perform his or her job duties, or enjoy the benefits of employment. The ADA protects private sector workers who work at a company with 15 or more employees.
This law is essentially identical to the Americans with Disabilities Act, prohibiting discrimination in all employment practices including application procedures, hiring, layoff, tenure, fringe benefits, firing, advancement, training, and compensation. The only difference is that the Rehab Act covers employees of the federal government, rather than those who work in the private sector. The protection applies to every federal agency, regardless of how many employees it has.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that provides people with health issues and disabilities up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to recover from a serious health condition or to care for a family member in need. Under the FMLA, qualified employees are guaranteed this time off without the threat of losing their job.
Am I required to tell my San Diego employer about my disability?
Deciding whether to disclose your disability is a personal choice and will depend on a variety of factors, like whether your disability is apparent, whether you think you’re being treated differently because of your disability, or whether you need an accommodation to perform your job duties. Keep in mind that an employer is only obligated to make accommodations or approve FMLA leave for a known disability. If you think you’ll need an accommodation to apply for a job or to perform essential job duties, or that you’ll need time off to recover from a serious health problem, you should tell the employer about your disability. This way, you are protected under the ADA or FMLA if he or she does not comply.
What to do if your employer discriminates against you
If you believe you have suffered discrimination in the workplace due to your disability, you may be eligible to file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Equal Employment Opportunity office for your federal agency. There are filing deadlines for both, so it’s important to take action quickly.
At the Law Offices of Gerald D. Brody & Associates, we can walk you through the filing process, tell you what to expect, and fight on your behalf. It all starts with a free, initial consultation where one of our experienced attorneys will review your case. Give us a call at (619) 528-9800 today to schedule an appointment.
If you’re like many Americans, you work hard every day to earn enough money to support your family. But sometimes, your family needs you more than they need your paycheck. If you find yourself in a position where you need to take an extended break from work to care for yourself or a loved one, you might be protected under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Learn more about the FMLA
The FMLA is a federal law that gives employees the right to take time off work to recover from a health condition or to care for a family member during a difficult time, among other considerations. Under this law, employees are guaranteed up to 12 weeks of leave each year without the threat of losing their job. Employees can take up to 26 weeks off for military caregiver leave.
It’s important to note that FMLA leave is unpaid. However, eligible employees are still entitled to receive their group health insurance benefits during their time off and may be able to use accrued paid vacation or sick time.
Who is eligible for the Family Medical Leave Act?
Not everyone is protected by the FMLA. In order to be eligible, you must work for a company that has at least 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. Additionally, you must have worked for your company for a minimum of a year, having clocked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months leading up to the date your leave will start. The FMLA covers the following conditions and circumstances:
- Leave for a serious health condition or a family member’s serious health condition, including but not limited to asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, stroke, cancer, or Alzheimer’s.
- Leave because you’re unable to work during pregnancy or to bond with a newborn, newly adopted child, or a recently placed foster child. With parental leave, time off must be taken within a year of a child’s arrival.
- Leave to care for a family member who became injured or ill while on active duty in the military. Leave is also available to care for veterans who have been out of the armed forces for less than five years.
How can I take advantage of the FMLA?
If you are an eligible employee and meet one or more of the conditions above, you can take advantage of the FMLA. In most cases, you’ll need to notify your employer at least 30 days in advance. Of course, if you need to take time off work for an unforeseeable reason, such as recovering from an auto accident, simply provide as much notice as reasonable for your situation.
Upon notifying your employer that you want to take leave, he or she will provide you with paperwork explaining your rights and obligations. Depending on the reason for taking FMLA leave, you may have to provide additional documents, such as a medical certification from your doctor or proof of a family relationship. Under the law, your employer must comply with your request to take FMLA leave and hold your position until you return.
Has your employer denied your request to take FMLA leave or refused to give you your job back?
When you’re finished with FMLA leave, you have a right to return to your former position or one that is equivalent in pay, job duties, shift, and schedule. If your employer refuses to give you your job back or denies your request for FMLA leave in the first place, you have a right to file a lawsuit.
At the Law Offices of Gerald D. Brody & Associates, our attorneys are experts on workers’ rights and know all of the intricacies of the complicated legal system. Allow us to review your case and assess whether you have a strong legal claim against your employer. If you do, you may be entitled to monetary damages related to your FMLA leave including back pay, attorney fees, and court costs.