You have a right to work: Your disability doesn’t define you

Disability discrimination is illegal in the workplace. What is disability discrimination, though, and what kind of rights do you have?

First, discrimination against a disability is when a person discriminates against someone with a disability in any way. For instance, if you are in a wheelchair, and you’re not able to stand to do a job, you should be able to sit and do the job if it’s possible. If you’re turned away and someone else is hired who sits but is not disabled, you may be able to argue that you were turned away because of your disability. You will need to prove that discrimination took place, but this may be able to be done if you can show you’re more qualified for the role or that someone said they didn’t hire you because of your disability.

It’s against the law for your employer to harass you, make jokes about your disability, to treat you less favorably than able-bodied individuals, to victimize you or retaliate against you, or to discriminate if you are associated with someone who is disabled.

Your employer should be able to make some minor adjustments to your work environment to help you. Things like putting you into a new position or supplying special equipment to help you do your job is good. Your hours may also be adjusted to help you.

If you’ve been discriminated against, you don’t have to accept that as a way of life. It’s important to speak up. Our website has more information about your rights as a person living with a disability in California.

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