Today, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing issued a press release announcing the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission ordered an airline to pay over $325,000 to and to reinstate a former employee employed as a customer service agent based on the Commission's findings that the airline failed to reasonably accommodate the former employee's disability. A copy of the Commission's order stating its findings and determinations can be viewed by clicking here.
As previously reported here, in our experience, cases alleging an employer's failure to accommodate an employee's disability or medical condition are on the rise both administratively (i.e., DFEH actions like the one discussed above) and by way of private lawsuits filed by current or former employees. Employers should use caution when terminating or otherwise disciplining an employee with a known disability or medical condition to make certain that the termination or other discipline does not run afoul of applicable California law, which is often quite favorable to employees. Employees with disabilities or medical conditions can lawfully be disciplined or even terminated, but employers should proceed with caution.