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Is it Legal for a California Business to Refuse to Hire Someone with a Specific Medical Condition?

Employers who discriminate against a person because of a medical condition are breaking the law. Employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees who have a medical condition unless doing so would cause excessive hardship.

Employees who are subjected to illegal medical discrimination can sue their employer for monetary damages. The following commonly asked issues about lawsuits for discrimination against California workers based on medical conditions are addressed:

Is it Legal for a California Business to Refuse to Hire Someone with a Specific Medical Condition?

In most situations, it is illegal for an employer in California to reject to hire an applicant because of his or her medical condition or perceived medical condition.

Discrimination in the workplace because of a medical condition is illegal under California state and federal law. Employers may have preconceived notions about a person’s ability based on their worries or assumptions about their medical condition. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of a medical condition, according to the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

Employers must evaluate job applicants regardless of their actual or perceived medical issues, as required by law. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to an employee or applicant unless doing so would cost the employer undue hardship. A great difficulty or expense is termed an undue hardship.

Employers must evaluate job applicants regardless of their actual or perceived medical issues, as required by law. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to an employee or applicant unless doing so would cost the employer undue hardship. A great difficulty or expense is termed an undue hardship.

Discrimination based on a person’s medical condition is illegal in any area of work or hiring, including:

  • Refusing to make a fair effort to accommodate you
  • Refusing to engage in an interactive process with employees who require a reasonable accommodation in a timely and good-faith manner
  • Refusing to employ
  • Choosing not to participate in a training program
  • Demotion
  • Pay reductions
  • Refuse a promotion.
  • Refusal to reinstatement
  • Benefits are denied.
  • Forcing an employee to resign is a bad idea.
  • Harassment
  • Assign various responsibilities.

What are the categories of medical illnesses that are exempt from discrimination?

A “medical condition” is defined as any of the following under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA):

  1. Any health problem caused by or linked to a cancer diagnosis, or a cancer record or history.
  2. Characteristics of the human genome “Genetic traits” means one of the following for the purposes of this section:
    • A scientifically or medically identifiable gene or chromosome, or combination of genes or chromosomes, that is known to cause diseases or disorders in a person or in his or her offspring, or that is statistically associated with an increased risk of causing disease or disorders, but is not currently associated with any symptoms of any disease or disorder.
    • Inherited characteristics that may be inherited from an individual or a family member, that are known to be a cause of disease or disorder in a person or his or her offspring, or that have been determined to be associated with a statistically increased risk of developing a disease or disorder, but are not currently linked to any disease or disorder symptoms.

Genes or chromosomes that suggest a higher chance of diseases like cancer, heart disease, or Lou Gehrig’s disease are examples of genetic disorders. An employer may discriminate against a genetically predisposed employee because the employer believes the individual may require medical leave or time off.

Medical illnesses and mental or physical disability may coexist. Any mental or psychological problem or condition that impairs a major life activity is considered a “mental disability.” Limitations are set without consideration for mediation, assistive technology, or reasonable adjustments.

Chronic diseases or medical disorders that cause mental impairments include:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Clinical depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • OCD
  • Anxiety
  • Dementia

Disfigurements or diseases that impair the body and limit significant living activities are referred to as “physical disabilities.” This includes the following:

  • Physiological disease
  • Disorder
  • Condition
  • Cosmetic disfigurement
  • Anatomical loss

Physical disabilities encompass both long-term and short-term conditions, such as:

  • Impaired eyesight
  • Impaired hearing
  • Impaired speech
  • Chronic diseases
  • Hepatitis
  • HIV/AIDs
  • Diabetes
  • Loss of a limb
  • Cancer
  • Pregnancy and childbirth

Contact Our Office for a Consultation Now

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with a medical condition and are facing difficulties with employment, please feel free to give our office a call. You may reach us at 310.943.1171.

Do not hesitate to contact Kaass Law if you have any questions about California disability discrimination laws or to discuss your case confidentially with one of our experienced California employment law attorneys.

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