California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (the “FEHA”) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on the employee’s physical or mental disability or medical condition.
Below are some things that you should know about your right to be free of disability discrimination under California law:
- To prevail on a disability discrimination claim, you must prove that you are able to perform the essential functions of your job with or without a reasonable accommodation. California law defines “essential functions” as “the fundamental job duties of the employment position.” (Cal. Gov. Code sec. 12926(f).)
- The “essential functions” of your position are the fundamental duties of your position. “Essential functions” do not include the marginal functions of your position. These are some of the factors and evidence that are considered to determine whether or not a particular function is an “essential function:” (a) whether the reason that the position exists is to perform that particular function; (b) whether only a limited number of employees can perform that particular function; (c) whether you were hired because of your expertise or ability to perform the particular function; (d) your employer’s accurate, current job description for your job; and (e) the amount of time you spend performing that particular function.
- Under California law, physical disabilities include but are not limited to: epilepsy, diabetes, and chronic/episodic conditions like HIV/AIDS.
- Under California law, mental disabilities include but are not limited to: bipolar disorder, clinical depression, chronic or episodic conditions like obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia.
- Even temporary conditions may qualify as a disability under California law. However, mild conditions such as the common cold or flu or muscle aches are not considered disabilities.
- The following do not constitute a physical or mental disability under California law: sexual behavior disorders, compulsive gambling, or kleptomania.
- California law does not protect independent contractors from disability discrimination.