In this episode, Jen explains a recent California Court of Appeals decision involving whether employers must grant accommodations to vaccine policies.
Articles Discussing Disability Discrimination Claims Under California Law.
While California’s COVID-19 State of Emergency is set to end on February 28, 2023, and California’s Supplemental COVID Supplemental Sick Pay has already sunsetted, the effects of the pandemic continue to impact California employers. Most recently, there has been a major uptick in employee requests for accommodation for mental issues such as depression, stress, and anxiety related to pandemic issues.
Whether it is depression from being isolated while working from home, stress from being short-staffed during COVID-related leaves, or anxiety from facing an employer mandate to return to in-office work, when a California employee raises a mental health concern, there are many issues the employer should keep in mind.
Here are some quick tips for dealing with mental health accommodations:
Executive Summary: Recently, the California appellate court provided guidance on how employers may comply with the Golden State’s workplace seating requirement. While the court found that the inquiry is fact-intensive and involves a multitude of job- and workplace-specific factors, the court’s opinion suggests employers should use a commonsense approach when providing seating to their employees, including an inquiry into how employers can meaningfully provide seats to their employees. The opinion, issued July 19, 2022, is Meda v. AutoZone.
After an explosion of “website accessibility” cases in recent years where plaintiffs sue internet-based companies under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) alleging that the websites are not accessible (usually alleged by visually impaired individuals), there is a ray of sunshine for some companies. The question of whether Title III of the ADA even applies to internet-based companies (as opposed to companies with physical storefronts) has been the subject of an ongoing debate, and inconsistent rulings, in courts.
In Martinez v. Cot’n Wash, Inc., the Second Appellate District declined to extend the meaning of “a place of public accommodation” under Title III to digital-only websites. Thus, an Unruh Act claim based on a violation of Title III cannot extend to purely digital websites and does not constitute a Title III violation. Based on this, those trying to recover against a digital-only website can only establish an Unruh Act claim under the theory of a “denial of access to a business establishment based on intentional discrimination.”
Recently the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released new guidance regarding discrimination against employees with caregiving responsibilities for family members. California similarly has a pending bill, Assembly Bill (AB) 2182, which seeks to add “family responsibilities” as a protected class under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
Read more here.
The California Court of Appeal, Brown v. Los Angeles Unified School District, recently ruled that that electromagnetic sensitivity (aka “being sick to Wi-Fi”) constituted a “physical disability” under Fair Employment and Housing
As an employer in California, you probably know that the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) requires employers with five or more employees to provide reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with a physical or mental disability. A reasonable accommodation allows an applicant to have an equal opportunity to be
In responding to claim of harassment, discrimination or retaliation based on protected categories, California employers must timely respond to and thoroughly investigate workplace complaints to avoid exposure. On July 9, 2018, a California Court of Appeal court found an employer liable where an employee was mocking a person for having a stutter on more than five, but less than fifteen occasions over a two-year period from 2006 to 2008. In Caldera v. Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, et al., the plaintiff brought suit after allegedly being subject to jokes over a two-year period of time. The jury awarded plaintiff $500,000. The trial court, finding the jury award excessive, granted a new trial as to damages. Both parties appealed.
In Bustos v. Global P.E.T., Inc., (E065869, Cal. Ct. App. January 16, 2018), Plaintiff William Bustos and a number of his co-workers were terminated by Global in an economic layoff. Bustos sued Global alleging his disabilities were a substantial motivating reason for his termination.
Is obesity a disability under California law? Are a supervisor’s alleged “fat remarks” sufficient evidence of disability discrimination? On December 21, 2017, a California Appellate Court published an extensive decision regarding obesity as a disability under California law and issued further guidance on both counts.
We previously reported that the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District held that an employer’s denial of accommodation to a nondisabled employee may serve as evidence of association discrimination under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Castro Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc. (2016) 2 Cal. App. 5th 1028. In Castro Ramirez, the employee alleged that he was terminated from employment after he made complaints about changes to his work schedule which impacted his ability to be at home during his disabled son’s dialysis treatments. On the surface, this seemed like a claim for reasonable accommodation (i.e., a modified work schedule) by a non-disabled employee and we all know that only disabled folks are entitled to receive reasonable accommodations. Easy decision, right? Wrong.
What is a disability? And when are employers on notice to provide employees leave? These were some of the questions raised in the California Court of Appeals (Second Appellate District) November 15, 2016 decision, Soria v. Univision Radio Los Angeles, Inc.
On October 7, 2016, Dependable Highway Express filed a petition asking the California Supreme Court to review a decision to allow a non-disabled employee to pursue his claim of association based disability discrimination. The employee alleged that he was terminated from employment after he made complaints about changes to his work schedule which impacted his ability to be at home during his disabled son’s treatments.
On August 29, 2016, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District reversed summary judgment earlier awarded to the employer in Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc. In its reversal, the court found that an employer’s denial of accommodation to a nondisabled employee may be evidence of associational disability discrimination under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”).
Today, a California Court of Appeal issued its opinion in Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, holding that the plaintiff-employee had a colorable claim for disability discrimination against his employer – even though the plaintiff-employee was not himself disabled. Instead, the employee’s son was disabled with a kidney condition that required daily dialysis treatments. His father, who was employed by DHE, was the only one in the family trained to administer the dialysis treatments. Based on his daily need to assist with treating his son, the employee requested to work an early shift that allowed him to be home in the evening to administer the dialysis. For some time, the company accommodated the employee’s scheduling request. Then, a new supervisor took over and assigned the employee to work a later shift. The employee refused, stating that it interfered with his ability to be home for his son’s treatments. The employee was fired for refusing to work as scheduled.