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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 36083
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I've been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and sleep

Customer Question

I've been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and sleep apnea. For the past 3 years, Ive been subject to harassment about my conditions. My boss has been negatively critical about these conditions, saying things like "I don't believe in that stuff," and
even went as far as disclosing my anxiety condition with one of the company's volunteers. We have a very difficult relationship. I have EMAILS that Ive sent to the VP, stating my concerns. My boss's attitude does change for the better for a matter of weeks,
but then goes back to her controlling and critical ways. Recently I was given a warning about my attendance because its getting more and more difficult to get up in the morning due to the high stress level at work and the CPAP machine which is not working
well for me. Ive been coming in at times later than my accommodated time, but Im at a point where Im so depressed and miserable in my job, its hard for me to get out of bed, even with meds I take. My doctors are aware of my stressful work environment. I think
I need to consult a lawyer. I have saved the emails Ive submitted to the VP and documented notes of my boss's behavior. I am scared Im going to have a melt down, the stress I deal with from her is consuming my life. Im looking for work...but in the meantime,
should I pursue legal action?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Before you consider legal action, you must approach your employer and propose a list of one or more accommodations that you would like implemented based on your disability to assist you to do your job. Suing for discrimination is not just about having medical issues that you believe render you disabled. You must actively seek specific accommodations and then be unreasonably denied those accommodations. However, your symptoms do appear to qualify you as disabled and you can easily do this along with your doctor. Let me explain.

Under the ADA guidelines, you clearly appear to be disabled,and as such the employer has the legal obligation to grant you reasonable accommodations which you request.

A refusal to make a reasonable accommodation for you, presuming that your physical and medical condition qualifies as a disability under the ADA guidelines, would be a violation of law, and give you a cause of action including wrongful termination and discrimination.

Under the ADA guidelines, a person is considered disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities. Recently, some new sections were added to the ADA regulations which provide even greater protections for the employee. One such section, 1630.2(j)(1)(iii) holds that the issue of “substantially limited” in a major life activity “should not demand extensive analysis,” and goes on to hold that comparing an individual’s performance of a major life activity to the performance of the same major life activity by most people in the general population “usually will not require scientific, medical or statistical analysis.”

As a result, proving a disability is a bit easier, and the remedies for a violation of your rights are several.

Speak with your doctor about what accommodations they believe might be in your best interests and then present several possibilities, in writing, to your employer for their consideration.

You may begin by filing a formal complaint of discrimination against the employer with the Department of Justice at:
U.S. Department of Justice

***** NW
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights - NY AVE
Washington, D.C. 20530

You may also file a lawsuit in Federal Court against the employer.

Finally, you may file a disability discrimination complaint with the EEOC(Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). If your company has 15 or more employees, they are prohibited from discriminating against you. To file a complaint with the EEOC, contact the nearest Equal Employment Opportunity Commission field office. To be automatically connected with the nearest office, call(###) ###-#### ***** website: www.eeoc.gov

Federal law specifically prohibits discrimination, based upon the Ethnicity,Color, Religion, National Origin, Age, Sex and Disability of an individual,with regard to hiring, promotion and firing.

After you file the complaint, your employer will be prohibited from any retaliatory action against you. The EEOC will investigate your claim, and 180days after the filing of the complaint you may ask for a "right to sue letter". The EEOC will issue you the letter which gives you the right to institute a private civil action against your employer and seek monetary damages.

Whichever route you may take, it would behoove you to consult with a local employment law attorney who handles discrimination cases. Perhaps with a sharply worded demand letter, you might get the accommodations you asked for as well as back pay if you lose pay based on the discriminatory actions of the employer.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Kindly, remember to rate my service to you. That is how I am credited for assisting you.

I wish you and yours the best in 2015,

Doug

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Doug for your help. I tried filing a complaint on the CA EEOC website, but because its a catholic non profit, it stated I needed to call because its a religous employer..........how would I go about filing a complaint against a catholic non profit organization?
Expert:  LawTalk replied 1 year ago.

Good morning,

Non-profits are NOT immune from claims of discrimination. They have some leeway when it comes to hiring based on religion so long as the job at issue is purely secular in nature. However, they still must abide by the laws concerning ADA and they can still be sued.

Follow through with the call to EEOC so they can further assist you. They will assist you in filing your complaint. Also, as you are in CA, consider contacting the CA DFEH as well:

You may file a formal complaint with the CA Department of Fair Employment and Housing alleging discrimination based on your disability.

To do this you must first make an appointment with the Department to be interviewed, either over the phone or at a local DFEH office. You may call the DFEH at(###) ###-#### ***** apply on line by using the Department’s "Online Appointment System." The system will guide you through questions to determine whether an appointment is right for you. http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/

Please keep in mind that, even though you have already paid your deposit money over to JustAnswer, until you rate me highly for my service, I will not be paid for having assisted you with your questions.

You may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further.

I wish you well,

Doug

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