Differences between the FEHA and ADA

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.