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Real-Life EEOC Disability Discrimination Cases in California to Help You Understand Your Rights

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Are your employee rights being violated due to your disability? If you think you have been subjected to disability discrimination in California, it's important to know that these negative employer behaviors are illegal under both California and Federal law, yet still occur all too frequently.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibit disability discrimination and require employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. Disability discrimination occurs when an employee or applicant is treated unfavorably by an employer because of his or her actual or perceived disability or medical condition, or because he or she has a history of a disability or medical condition. Because workplace discrimination due to a disability can take on many forms, it can be difficult to discern whether you have or have not been unlawfully discriminated against based upon your disability status.

The following EEOC disability discrimination cases will help shed some light on your own disability rights in the California workplace.

EEOC-disability-discrimination-cases-in-california-to-help-you-understand-your-rights.jpg

Are your employee rights being violated due to your disability? If you think you have been subjected to disability discrimination in California, it's important to know that these negative employer behaviors are illegal under both California and Federal law, yet still occur all too frequently.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibit disability discrimination and require employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. Disability discrimination occurs when an employee or applicant is treated unfavorably by an employer because of his or her actual or perceived disability or medical condition, or because he or she has a history of a disability or medical condition. Because workplace discrimination due to a disability can take on many forms, it can be difficult to discern whether you have or have not been unlawfully discriminated against based upon your disability status.

The following EEOC disability discrimination cases will help shed some light on your own disability rights in the California workplace.

Examples of Disability Discrimination: EEOC Cases

Pepsi Settles EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - The EEOC obtained $120,000 from the Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. (NYSE: PBG) to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit that alleged a driver with a disability was denied accommodation and wrongfully terminated.

The EEOC lawsuit stated that Pepsi terminated Eldridge Davis, a driver at its Hayward, California facility, for "job abandonment and violation of the company attendance policy," even though David followed proper company procedure to inform his supervisor that his disability prevented him from finishing his route and he needed to take medical leave.

Davis, age 48, had been working for Pepsi since October 1996 and was promoted to a driver position in December 1999.

"Medical leave is a widely recognized accommodation, and in Mr. Davis's case, could easily have been granted, avoiding the loss of a valuable and experienced employee," said EEOC San Francisco Regional Attorney William R. Tamayo.

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EEOC Sues Wal-Mart for Disability Discrimination and Retaliation

SACRAMENTO, CA - The EEOC charged that mega-retailer Wal-Mart violated federal law when it failed to accommodate an employee with a disability and later retaliated against the disabled worker for asserting his civil rights, firing him.

David Gallo worked at the Walmart in Placerville, California starting in June 2003. During his six years at the store, Gallo performed successfully and was promoted from an overnight stocker position to a manager of the store's tire lube express bay. Gallo, who has a heart condition called atrial fibrillation which causes him to have shortness of breath making it difficult to walk. In March 2008, a new store manager barred Gallo from parking in the handicap parking spaces as well as spaces close to the front of the store, despite Wal-Mart's knowledge of Gallo's disability. Gallo filed a charge with the EEOC for Wal-Mart's failure to accommodate his heart condition in September 2008, and was fired eight months later for an alleged error made by a subordinate. The subordinate and the inspector who reviewed his work, however, were not discharged.

"Letting me park closer to my job was a little thing for Wal-Mart, but would have made a big difference to me," stated Gallo. "The store manager made me move to the back of the parking lot, even after I showed him my handicap placard. I asked for a simple accommodation, and I lost my job over it."

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EEOC Sues Owner of California McDonald's for Disability Discrimination

FRESNO, CA - The Alia Corporation, the owner of a McDonald's in Oakhurst, California, unlawfully demoted a supervisor due to his cerebral palsy, forcing him to quit.

The EEOC disability discrimination lawsuit stated that Derrick Morgan had worked under a prior owner of the Oakhurst McDonald's without problems since 2006. Morgan was even promoted from crew member to floor supervisor two years later. By January 2009, Alia assumed control of the Oakhurst location. New management demoted Morgan to a janitorial position within a couple months, cut his hours nearly in half and reduced his hourly wages. Because of the steep income reduction, Morgan was forced to quit in June 2009.

Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC's Fresno Local Office, said, "People with disabilities have the same right to work as the rest of us. In recent years, the laws against disability discrimination have become more flexible to cover most all individuals who suffer bias as a result of a physical or mental condition."

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Akeena Solar Settles Disability Discrimination Suit

SAN JOSE, CA - A Los Gatos, California-based solar power company agreed to pay $30,000 to a payroll/accounts technician with a paralyzed arm, as well as implement preventative measures to settle a federal disability discrimination lawsuit.

The EEOC suit alleged that Gladys Tellez, a 44-year-old Latina was hired on November 13, 2006, and then fired by Akeena Solar within just hours of her first day of employment the next day. The termination happened after her supervisor found that Tellez' left arm was paralyzed. The EEOC investigation determined that the former employee was fully qualified and capable of performing the job's essential functions.

"In Ms. Tellez's case, she was not even given a full day to prove herself. We hope this resolution will encourage employers to give persons with disabilities a fair shot at establishing their individual worth and value at work," said EEOC Regional Attorney William Tamayo.

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Comfort Suites To Pay $132,500 For Disability Discrimination Against Clerk With Autism

SAN DIEGO, CA - Tarsadia Hotels, a hotel developer and operator in California doing business as Comfort Suites paid $132,500 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit that the EEOC filed on behalf of a hotel clerk with autism.

The EEOC suit charged that a front desk clerk at the Comfort Suites Mission Valley Hotel in San Diego was denied reasonable accommodation, disciplined and then fired in 2008 due to his autism.

The hotel clerk had prior hotel work experience in a similar position where his work earned him positive recommendations. After he started his job at Comfort Suites, he sought free job coach services from the state, which would have helped him master his job by using training techniques for those with autism. However, Tarsadia refused the assistance of a job coach and then fired the autistic employee.

Mark Berger, president and chief executive officer of Partnerships with Industry, stated, "We are grateful that EEOC took a stand against disability discrimination, a serious problem which all too often plagues individuals with developmental disabilities. We believe that individuals with disabilities can make productive workers as long as employers are willing to work with them through accommodations."

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UPS Unit to Pay $95,000 to Settle EEOC Disability Discrimination Suit

LOS ANGELES, CA - UPS Supply Chain Solutions paid $95,000 to settle an EEOC disability discrimination lawsuit that alleged a deaf worker was unlawfully denied a reasonable accommodation.

According to the EEOC suit, from 2001 to 2009, Mauricio Centeno worked at the Gardena, California UPS SCS facility as a junior clerk in the accounting department. Deaf since birth, Centeno's primary language is American Sign Language (ASL). Centeno also struggles to understand written English. Even though UPS SCS supervisors were aware of his impairment, they continuously denied Centeno's request for reasonable accommodation of a sign language interpreter for training, staff meetings and other work-related sessions. Rather than do so, Centeno's supervisors required that he attend the meetings and counseled him about his performance without an interpreter present.

Aside from the monetary relief, the three-year consent decree settling the disability discrimination lawsuit requires UPS SCS to adhere to multiple provisions for its operations in California.

"For years, Maurice Centeno sat in silence during meetings while his supervisors ignored his requests for a sign language interpreter," said Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC's Los Angeles District Office. "We commend UPS SCS for recognizing that workers with disabilities have the right to the same benefits and privileges of employment enjoyed by those without disabilities, and for working to provide effective accommodations in the future."

Olophius E. Perry, district director for the EEOC's Los Angeles District Office, added, "It is critical that employers engage in the interactive process, an extended dialogue about how to best provide an accommodation. It is during this crucial process that employers will learn the most effective method to accommodate employees with disabilities."

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You shouldn't have to worry about losing your job due to your disability.Our California disability discrimination lawyers are here to fight for your disability rights and the financial compensation you deserve. Contact us today for your free consultation.

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