What If I Was Harassed or Discriminated Against for My Intellectual Disability?
If you were harassed or discriminated against because you have an intellectual disability, or mental retardation, your employer may have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – a federal law meant to protect people with disabilities in the workplace, and other public spaces. An employer is not allowed to discriminate or harass you if you have a disability that is covered by the ADA. The California Employment Attorneys Group helps people with disabilities every single day. We can sue your employer if he has discriminated against you or harassed you or wrongfully fired you fora mental disability.
The only two things that an employer is supposed to consider when interviewing applicants or evaluating current employees are their qualifications for the job and their ability to perform the essential job functions. Unfortunately, some employers use their personal biases when making such decisions. Thanks to the ADA, employers are no longer able to make decisions based on such arbitrary things as long as the employee can indeed perform the essential job functions, with or without reasonable accommodation.
We at the California Employment Attorneys Group help disability discrimination victims get the most compensation possible. We help answer questions about their rights. Our Los Angeles attorneys are always there with you every step of the way to make sure that you receive the justice that you deserve. Our employment law firm is headquartered in Los Angeles but we take cases from the entire state of California.
Does the Americans with Disabilities Act Cover Mental Retardation?
The Americans with Disabilities Act has a very broad definition of what classifies as a “disability.” The ADA defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one of more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such impairment, or a person who is perceived by other as having such impairment.” So what does all of this mean?
A physical or mental condition that severely limits one or more major life activity means that the condition that you suffer must interfere with your ability to do common things to keep you alive and well. Such things include seeing, hearing, breathing, digesting, walking, sitting, performing manual tasks, and even learning. Generally, a person with an intellectual disability is covered under the ADA because their ability to learn is squandered by their disability.
A person with an intellectual disability is covered under the ADA if they have a history or record of such impairment. For example, if you have had Down syndrome your entire life and have a record of such impairment and how long it has affected you, you are covered under the ADA which means that your employer cannot discriminate against you for having such impairment if you are qualified and can perform the essential job functions, with or without reasonable accommodation.
Lastly, if you in fact do not have any mental retardation ailment, your employer or fellow employees cannot perceive that you do. So if your employees call you offensive names that insinuate you have an intellectual disability, they are violating federal law.
What Is the Essential Job Function and Reasonable Accommodation?
Essential Job Function: Every job has an essential job function – they are those tasks which are crucial for your job. Essentially, they are the reasons why that job exists in the first place. An employer is only supposed to look at your ability to perform the essential job function, not secondary or tertiary functions. For example, the job functions of a cashier may be to read the monitor, count cash, and be generally friendly customers. If you can perform all of these tasks, your employer cannot consider your intellectual impairment as an obstacle. Doing so is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and may give you the right to file a disability discrimination against your employer.
Reasonable Accommodation: Changes to a position or workplace which help the individual with a disability be as successful as possible. For instance, if you have an intellectual disability and need more time to get ready in the morning in order for you to perform your job to the best of your ability, your employer is required to give you a flexible schedule for work. They can only provide a reasonable accommodation if you request it.
How to File a Lawsuit Against Your Employer
Your Employer is not allowed to discriminate against your disability which is protected under the ADA. If they do discriminate, you may have the right to sue your employer for disability discrimination. Before you can sue, you must first file a charge with a government employment agency. There are two which are available to you, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH).
The EEOC is the federal agency which enforces the ADA across the entire nation. The DFEH is the state employment agency which makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees with disabilities. Because both of these agencies both do not allow disability discrimination, the deadline is extended to 300 calendar days from the last day you experienced any discrimination. These two agencies are in a work-sharing agreement which means that whenever you file a charge with one, a duplicate copy is sent to the other agency. This is known as dual filing and is meant to protect your rights under both state and federal laws. Once the agency launches the investigation and sees that your rights may have been violated, you may request a “right-to-sue” letter. Remember, though; you only have 90 days to take action against your employer from the day you receive the letter so it recommended that you only request the letter once you and your attorney are fully ready to proceed.
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The California Employment Attorneys Group is here to ensure that justice is served and get you, a victim of disability discrimination, the maximum compensation possible. We offer free consultation and the zero-fee guarantee! Call us today.