In California, can my employer fire me because of my disability?
No. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers cannot discriminate based on an employee’s disability. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) protects disabled workers.
California defines disability as any physical or mental impairment that limits how a person performs a major life activity—which includes doing their normal job duties. Other major life activities include walking, sleeping, hearing, seeing, working, breathing, thinking, learning or the operation of major bodily functions.
Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to help disabled employees perform the necessary tasks of their jobs. The following are some examples of reasonable accommodations:
- Modified tools or other work equipment, such as an ergonomic desk or voice-activated software;
- Allowing an extended medical leave;
- Changing the physical layout of the workplace;
- Installing a ramp so employees can more easily access the restroom;
- Making necessary training material available in Braille or large-print text;
- Part-time schedule or work from home;
- As a last resort, transferring an employee to an open position;
This list is not complete as there are countless disabilities and conditions, and various ways to accommodate them.
Employers cannot take any adverse employment action against an employee based on their disability. This includes laying off or firing an employee. However, employers are not prohibited from firing a disabled employee for a legitimate reason. If you suspect that your disability or medical leave may have been a reason for your termination, then contact a skilled employment lawyer.
Other Disability and Medical Leave FAQs:
- Am I entitled to leave for a serious family matter?
- Can My Employer Fire Me for Requesting Medical Leave under FMLA or CFRA?
- Do I qualify for a medical leave from work under FMLA or CFRA?
- I was recently injured and need to request an accommodation. Can my employer fire me if I make the request?
- In California, can my employer fire me because of my disability?
- Is my boss allowed to fire me while I am on leave?
- Is my employer required to accommodate my disability?
- Is there a medical exemption to vaccine work requirements?
- Is there a religious exemption to vaccine work requirements?
- My employer denied me the reasonable accommodation I requested due to “undue hardship.” What is undue hardship?
- What counts as a reasonable accommodation?
- What disabilities and conditions are protected?
- What disabilities are covered under California employment discrimination laws?
- What is a “reasonable accommodation” for disability under California employment law?