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12 Jan What is a “Major Life Activity” as Defined by the Fair Employment and Housing Act?

A major life activity is really determined on a case-by-case basis, but a key major life activity is the ability to perform the essential functions of your job; in other words, to be able to work. So, if your physical or mental impairment limits your ability to perform your job, then it would qualify under the state law or the FEHA, as a state disability. If the major life activity is substantially limited, then it would qualify as disability under the ADA. Other forms of major life activities could include being able to drive, or being able to read, or see. It’s important to note that for your disability to be protected in the employment process, you should be able to perform the essential functions of your job position, with or without a reasonable accommodation. If you can perform the essential functions of your job with an accommodation, then you are protected under the disability discrimination laws. (This is carefully determined on a case-by-case basis during facts obtained during inquiry). For instance, if you’re hired as a typist, basically your job is to type all day, then an essential function of your job would be your ability to type. If you don’t have fingers or you have problems with your hands, that could make it difficult or impossible to type. The key is that an employer can’t discriminate against you if you’re able to perform the essential functions of your job with an accommodation. In the case of a typist, one accommodation might be to have software that allows you to dictate rather than type. The dictation software would take the place of typing. Or, if you’re seeing impaired, but you can see the keys if they have some form of braille on them, that would be an accommodation that assists you in performing the essential functions of your job. In sum, the “essential functions” component of a discrimination case looks at your ability to perform the essential job functions with or without an accommodation based on the nature of the disability and how it impairs your ability to perform the essential functions. Because a disability is defined by the way it affects your ability to perform a major life activity, the difference between ADA and FEHA in terms of “substantially limits,” versus just “limits” a major life activity is very. If you have a disability that limits a major life activity, such as performing the essential functions of your job, and you have experienced disability discrimination by your employer, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation.  ...

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12 Jan Differences between the FEHA and ADA

One difference between the FEHA (the Fair Employment and Housing Act) and the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is that the ADA applies to all employers in the private sector that have four to fifteen employees, whereas the FEHA affects more employees, and it doesn’t distinguish between private and public employers like the ADA does. The Rehabilitation Act, which is a component of the ADA, protects against discrimination for both the Federal agencies and recipients of Federal financial assistance. It impacts the state public agencies as well. One key difference is that the ADA applies to employers with fifteen or more employees, and FEHA applies to companies with five or more employees. The rehabilitation act requires affirmative action to be used in employing people with disabilities, whereas the FEHA does not require affirmative action, and the ADA also does not require affirmative action. Probably one of the most important differences between the ADA and FEHA is that with FEHA, a disability is required. Under the ADA, to qualify for disability, a physical or mental impairment substantially limits a major life activity, but the FEHA requires only that a mental and physical disability limit a major life activity; not a substantial limit, but a limit. Another key difference in the ADA and the FEHA is in the amount of recoverable damages. The ADA limits the amount of compensatory and punitive damages that can be awarded for a disability discrimination claim. The FEHA, however, does not have any damages caps in civil actions. That’s an important difference. Generally, the biggest difference between the ADA and FEHA is that the ADA, under California law, constitutes the floor of protection. It is the minimum amount of protection that every state is required to follow. The thing about California, however, is that its disability discrimination laws are broader and more favorable to disabled employees than the ADA is. If you have a potential claim under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation....

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10 Jan Understanding California’s Disability Discrimination Laws Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act

There are some important differences between California’s Disability Discrimination laws under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act. There are both the ADA and the Federal Rehabilitation Act under Federal Law. The Rehabilitation Act is very similar to ADA, but it only applies to Federal agencies, Federal Contractors and recipients of Federal financial assistance. In terms of the protections it offers, it’s not unlike the ADA in many ways. If you have a potential claim under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation....

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08 Jan What Qualifies As a Mental Disability?

The question about what constitutes a mental disability under the law isn’t necessarily focused on specific conditions. There’s not an exhaustive list of mental conditions that qualify as disability. The important question is whether a mental condition limits the performance of a major life activity. It is not so important what name you give to the condition; what matters are the symptoms and how it limits your major life activities. That being said, there are a number of mental conditions that I see quite a bit in my practice that often do constitute a mental disability. Bipolar disorder is a common mental disability that I see that has become an issue in my practice. Bipolar disorder is a condition where a person suffers from depressive episodes and manic episodes. In either situation, whether someone is suffering from a depressive episode or a manic episode, it can have a major impact on a persons’ ability to perform their job. A similar condition, although it’s not identical (there are key distinctions) is Major Depressive Disorder, and it can also greatly affect a person’s ability to do their job. People with major depressive disorder can suffer from insomnia, may have a hard time getting out of bed, and can suffer from physical symptoms that are related to their depression. They can also suffer from side effects of medications used to treat the depression. Major depressive disorder can have profound impacts on a persons’ ability to perform their job. If you have experienced discrimination by your employer because of a mental disability, contact an employment lawyer today at the Khadder Law Firm for a free initial consultation....

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