The Los Angeles employment law attorney at the Leichter Law Firm, APC, Aryeh Leichter, knows the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), enforced by the California Civil Rights Department (CRD), prohibits employment discrimination and harassment based on a person’s disability or perceived disability.

The FEHA provides broader protection for persons with disabilities than federal law. California employers with five or more employees must follow the FEHA. California also has broader definitions of mental disability, physical disability, and medical condition than does federal law.

Addressing Stigma and Discrimination Around Invisible Disability

What is Considered an “Invisible Disability” in California?

Invisible disabilities, such as intellectual disability, emotional illness, mental illness, or learning disability, are not always immediately apparent but can have significant impacts on individuals’ daily lives.

Under California law, a disability must only “limit” a major life activity. The disability does not have to involve a “substantial limitation,” as under federal law, to be considered a disability. Whether a condition or disability “limits” a major life activity is determined regardless of any mitigating measure, such as medication or prosthesis, unless the mitigating measure itself limits a major life activity.

It is the responsibility of employers to have clear anti-discrimination policies in place. These policies, which should explicitly prohibit discrimination based on disability, including invisible disabilities, play a crucial role in fostering a workplace culture of inclusivity and respect. They should outline procedures for reporting discrimination and provide avenues for resolving complaints, thereby holding employers accountable for maintaining a discrimination-free workplace.

Under the empowering provisions of California law, employers are mandated to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, including invisible disabilities. This ensures equal access to employment opportunities, fostering a workplace environment that values and protects all individuals. Employers should work closely with employees to identify and implement appropriate accommodations tailored to their needs, further reinforcing this sense of empowerment and inclusion.

Addressing stigma and discrimination around invisible disabilities is not just important; it is crucial. It is a critical step towards promoting mental health awareness and fostering inclusivity in the workplace. By understanding and respecting the unique challenges faced by individuals with invisible disabilities, California workplaces can create a more supportive and inclusive work environment for all.

Employers should regularly evaluate their policies and practices related to invisible disabilities to identify areas for improvement. This can involve soliciting employee feedback, conducting assessments of workplace culture, and making adjustments to promote inclusivity and address stigma.

Have You Been Discriminated Against in a California Workplace for Having an Invisible Disability?

If you have been discriminated against at work for having a mental health condition, you may be eligible to pursue damages for emotional distress, hiring or reinstatement, back pay or promotion, changes in the policies or practices of the employer, potential punitive damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

Contact Our Attorney at Leichter Law Firm, APC

Contact Aryeh Leichter, the Leichter Law Firm, APC founder, and disability discrimination attorney in Los Angeles County, today to discuss the legal remedies that may be available for your unique workplace circumstances, starting with a free consultation by calling (818)-915-6624 or contacting the firm online.

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