Aside from relatively high unemployment rate (10.9 percent as of April 2012), California is also facing other forms of employment-related issues like workplace discrimination. Of all the U.S. states, according to the data of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), California has high likelihood of having incidences of employment discrimination cases.

Disability discrimination in California

In EEOC’s Charge Receipts data, a total of 7,166 employment discrimination complaints were filed in 2011 alone. Discrimination based on a person’s disability is among the type of workplace biases that recorded the highest in California. EEOC’s data show that in 2011, there were 2,110 disability discrimination complaints filed from California. This number is generally higher than the total complaints filed in 2009 (1,586 complaints filed). Moreover, the 2011 disability complaints in California made 8.2 percent of all disability claims in the country.

One of the reasons why disability discrimination in California is quite rampant is because of the failure of employers to know their responsibilities and obligations under the law. In accordance with two employment laws, California employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees and applicants based on their medical condition.

Employment prohibiting disability discrimination

There are two laws in effect in California that prohibits employers to base their employment decisions on an employee or an applicant based on his or her disability or medical condition.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – This federal law makes it illegal for employers with 15 or more employees to discriminate against individuals based on their physical or mental disability. This law also implores covered employers to provide their disabled workers with reasonable accommodation if possible and necessary.

Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – This state law acts like ADA because it protects disabled workers and applicants from employment discrimination. Under FEHA, California-based employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees and applicants based on their physical or mental disability. Employers are also implored to provide reasonable accommodation to their disabled employees.

Filing a discrimination complaint

Disabled California employees and applicants who experienced workplace discrimination are advised to get legal assistance from a Los Angeles discrimination attorney to know the proper legal actions to take. Upon consulting with an attorney, disability discrimination victims are advised to file a formal complaint with the EEOC or the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). These government employment agencies are mandated to investigate, mediate, and even settle employment disputes like disability discrimination.