Despite the introduction of various employment and labor laws designed to protect employees, workplace discrimination still persists. Discrimination can take the form of age, racial, religious, pregnancy, and gender discrimination, among others. People with disabilities are just as prone to workplace discrimination as any other frequently targeted group. Thankfully, they can be compensated accordingly if they’ve been victimized by discriminatory bosses and colleagues.
What Constitutes Disability Discrimination in the Workplace?
Disability discrimination occurs when an organization or employer acts unlawfully towards a person with a disability—meaning the worker was treated unfavorably and unjustly because of his or her condition. This type of discrimination can also occur when employers and colleagues display negative behaviors towards workers with disabilities due to a previous or non-transitory handicap.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is one of the civil rights laws that was established to protect disabled individuals from discrimination, including workplace discrimination. Along with this, there are other federal laws that protect non-disabled employees from discrimination due to their association with persons with disabilities.
On a state level, the Fair Employment and Housing Act of 1959 (FEHA) is a California statute used to combat various forms of discrimination in the workplace and housing. Under FEHA, employers with five or more workers cannot engage in discriminatory behavior based on physical or mental disabilities, medical conditions, or genetic information. FEHA is enforced by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), which provides employees with their first resort for these types of problems and a chance to file complaints immediately.
To learn more about the subject, read our article about fighting disability discrimination in the workplace.
What is Compensated in Disability Discrimination Cases?
There are different compensation types that a plaintiff can receive from a disability discrimination case. These include the following:
- Lost wages: Employees who’ve experienced disability discrimination can be illegally terminated by their employers. If this has happened to you, you will most likely be eligible to receive compensation for the wages you’ve lost after being terminated for your disability. Even if you weren’t unlawfully terminated, you might still be eligible to receive compensation for lost wages if the discrimination negatively impacted your ability to earn pay increases, promotions, and similar advantages.
- Pain and suffering: Emotional and mental harm are possible when one is discriminated against based on a disability. Depression and anxiety may overwhelm the victim, which is why pain and suffering are compensated. Understand that anyone who gets compensation for these will be evaluated by a professional first before receiving the award.
- Punitive damages: There are employers who deliberately discriminate against persons with disabilities. If the company you work for is found to have terminated you or discriminated against you on purpose, then you’re entitled to punitive damages. These damages are imposed on the defendant not just to punish them, but to also deter others from engaging in similar discriminatory behaviors.
The lawsuit might result in other actions designed to restore what was unlawfully taken away from the plaintiff. An employer might need to reinstate the terminated employee by the court’s order if he or she was unfairly terminated as a result of a disability. Implementing new policies may also be ordered by the court to prevent discrimination from happening in the future.
What is the Average Settlement for Disability Discrimination?
Each disability discrimination case is different and the outcomes (including compensation) will vary. If you’re considering filing such a lawsuit against your erring employer, then you’ve surely thought about the probable value of your settlement.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has released a report on significant disability litigation filed or resolved between July 2013 and July 2014. There are numerous filed cases involving employers failing to accommodate or hire disabled individuals and even unjustly terminating them. The resolution for these cases range from $12,000 to $186,000 or more, depending on the gravity of the case.
Other cases may lead to settlements that exceed the report averages. At Mesriani Law Group, one of our plaintiffs received $250,000 for disability discrimination, along with other damages. The best way to determine the value of your case is to consult an experienced disability discrimination lawyer in California.
Contact an Experienced Disability Discrimination Lawyer in California
Employees with disabilities have the right to work in an environment that is free of harassment and discrimination. If you’ve been severely mistreated at work because of your condition, then you have the right to seek damages against your unjust employer or co-workers. Victims of handicap discrimination can file a claim for unpaid wages and benefits, among other damages. Compensation for pain and suffering, along with other losses, are also obtainable.
The important thing to remember is to never try to claim any of these on your own. Employers and organizations will be bolstered by unscrupulous adjusters and defense lawyers who will work tirelessly to counter your discrimination claims. There are also legal technicalities that may affect the results when you try to reach a settlement on your own. Worst comes to worst, you could risk getting no compensation at all.
To ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve, contact a seasoned disability discrimination lawyer in California. Doing so will ensure that you obtain justice and receive proper recompense for all the wrongs done to you.