Are you treated unfairly at the workplace and have questions about discrimination case expectations? Contact our California lawyers today.
1) Choosing a Workplace Discrimination Attorney
It’s important that you find a firm that only does some type of employment law and that they are well versed in the interchange between various California labor statute and employment statutes. The first issue is finding a firm that has deep knowledge of California employment law.
The second issue we talked about is whether or not the law firm is well funded or has the resources to make sure that your claim is followed through all the way to the end. It’s important to have a firm that has the resources to make sure that depositions are taken, documents are produced, and your issues are advocated to the full extent.
The third issue is actually finding a law firm that truly has trial experience. You’d be surprised how many times somebody calls themselves a trial attorney or a civil litigator, but in fact have never argued a case in front of a jury. The reality is, when you hire an attorney, you don’t actually know whether or not they actually have trial experience. Truth be told, there are a group of individuals who do know, and that’s the defense attorneys. They’ll know whether or not the attorney that you hired has ever tried a case. It’s important for you to find an attorney that has true trial experience that feels comfortable in front of a jury and that can advocate for you.
I’m not saying all cases go to trial; in fact, most cases don’t go to trial. In order for cases to settle and settle for a number that you feel good about, however, it’s important for the other side to know that if they don’t settle, and push comes to shove, you have attorneys that will go try a case for you.
2) Americans with Disabilities Act
The ADA is actually a Federal law. It’s a Federal law that was passed to protect individuals with disabilities, both for work issues and non-work issues. While many people know or have heard of the ADA, it’s also important to know that for disabled employees in California there’s another statute called the Fair Employment and Housing Act. The Fair Employment and Housing Act protects employees who have been disabled, either at work or away from work. Now, the issue as to what’s a disability under the Fair Employment and Housing Act is a little bit of a different standard than under the ADA, so it’s important for you to hire an attorney or to find an attorney that can make a distinction between the ADA and the Fair Employment Housing Act, also known as FEHA.
A lot of times in the employment setting for a disability claim under FEHA, an employee either has been injured at work and come back with work restrictions or has work restrictions for a non-work related injury. What happens is the employer is presented with a doctor’s note that says that either for a short period of time or for a long period of time an employee can’t do a certain task. By the time that they contact us or reach out to a law firm, it’s because the employers made the decision that, as a result of the work restrictions, they can’t accommodate the employee; as a result, they terminate the employee or they prevent the employee from doing certain aspects of their job that they know that they can do.
If you’ve received work restrictions for a work-related injury or a non-work related injury, it’s important for you to understand that under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, just like under the ADA, you have rights. You have the right to continue working for your employer, as long as it’s not an undue burden on the employer. It’s important for you to understand under what circumstances the employer has to accommodate you so you can continue working.
3) Employer Refuses to Provide Reasonable Accommodation
One of the main types of cases we take are cases in which an employee is given work restrictions that require accommodation, but, as a result of the work restrictions, the employer isn’t allowing the employee to continue the work. Either the employee is being asked to stay out on leave for an extended period of time, despite the fact that the employee believes that they can work, or the employer has made the decision that as a result of the accommodation request that they have to terminate the employee.
Under California law, it’s extremely important for employees to know that they have rights. The employer has what’s called an affirmative obligation to engage in the interactive process to try and determine whether or not the employee can do their job either with accommodation or without accommodation so that they continue to work for the company. If the employee can’t do their normal customary job, it still doesn’t mean that the employee has to be terminated. If there’s a vacant position within the company, the employee is entitled to that vacant position. It’s important for you to understand that throughout that process, a lot of times the employer doesn’t want somebody there with restrictions, and they’ll throw up roadblocks or come up with excuses or simply just say, “No, you have to be 100% or you can’t come back.” A lot of times that violates the California Fair Employment Housing Act. It’s important for you to find an attorney that is well versed in the Fair Employment Housing Act as it relates to the employer’s obligation to provide an accommodation to permit the employee to continue working. It’s also the employer’s obligation to engage in a good faith and timely interactive process to make sure that the employee can continue working.
4) Filing an EEOC Claim While Still Employed
The steps as a current employee that you should take really do vary depending on the situation and on the employee. What type of risk are you comfortable with? What type of confrontation with a supervisor or co-worker do you feel comfortable with? A lot of times throughout the week I’ll talk to potential clients that are looking for guidance as to what they should do because they are in this type of situation. To some people, they’re scared just to go to Human Resources. They’re scared to say anything. I still have other clients or potential clients who are more than happy to say anything and document and write emails all the way up the chain.
It’s important to note that, while you’re employed, you have rights. There are also various steps you can take to preserve, protect, and exercise your rights. For different employees, the response is different. Just like with different employers, their response to your concerns are different. Sometimes employers do the right thing. A lot of times employers do the right thing. Then there’s those circumstances in which employers just do the wrong thing. It’s in those circumstances, in which they do the wrong thing that you want to make sure you’re protected.
Are you or a loved one in the process of filing an employment claim in California and have questions about discrimination case expectations? Contact the experienced California employment law attorneys at the Myers Law Group today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
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