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Common Employer Violation #2: “The ‘No Light Duty’ Deflection”

06
JUN

by: jcinar

MY RECENT BLOG POSTS MISTAKENLY FAILED TO INDICATE THAT THE CONTENT HERE WAS DERIVED FROM AN ARTICLE ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY NEIL PEDERSEN, ESQ. OF PEDERSEN MCQUEEN.  THE ARTICLE IS ENTITLED “FEHA RED FLAGS: COMMON EMPLOYER VIOLATIONS OF CALIFORNIA’S DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION LAWS,” TO WHICH THE STATE BAR OF CALIFORNIA WEBSITE POSSESSES A COPYRIGHT.  FUTURE ARTICLES IN THIS SPECIFIC BLOG SERIES SHALL ATTRIBUTE THE CONTENT TO NEIL PEDERSEN.

 

In continuing my blog series on common employer violations under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), a second violation that employers commonly make is not offering “light duty” work when a doctor prescribes such work for the injured employee.  Such a response to an injured employee is a violation of FEHA.

 

California Government Code Section 12940 (n) requires that an employer engage in a timely, good faith interactive process when presented with a request for accommodation by the employee.  A note from the employee’s doctor, making a return-to-work request with restrictions is enough to trigger the accommodation process by the employer.  At that time, the employer and employee must sit down together and assess the employee’s restrictions, understand what the employee’s job duties were, and to determine whether there is a reasonable way to accommodate those restrictions.  The accommodations must be met so long as it does not impose undue hardship on the employer. And in California, undue hardship is extremely difficult to prove. It’s basically close to the employer having to close up shop as a result of the accommodation, which is unlikely. 

It’s simple – any employer who refuses to allow an employee to return to work with restrictions because the employer does not offer light duty work should be considered a red flag that the employee’s FEHA rights are being violated.

 

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