Use Caution When Including Disabled Employee in Departmental Layoffs

March 23, 2023 | From HRCalifornia Extra

by Michelle Galbraith, J.D.; Employment Law Expert, CalChamber

In addition to many other things, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers from taking adverse employment actions because of an employee’s disability — and it requires an employer to offer disabled employees reasonable accommodations to allow them to perform their job duties. 

At the same time, the FEHA doesn’t give disabled employees greater protections than those afforded to non-disabled workers. For example, if an employer can demonstrate that it decided to terminate a disabled employee for legitimate business reasons before it learned of the worker’s disability, the decision often will be lawful. 

However, a new California Court of Appeal case has indicated that employers still need to use caution when terminating a disabled employee, even when the termination process began before the disability arose.

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