Did I Experience Disability Discrimination? Here Are Some Examples By Gregory Thyberg on May 30, 2024

disabled worker being excludedEmployment laws on the state and federal levels provide many protections, including protection from workplace discrimination. Among the workers protected by workplace discrimination laws are individuals with physical or mental disabilities. Although employee disability discrimination is illegal, it still occurs.

Victims of employee discrimination disability may suffer emotional and financial damages. Discriminated employees can file a workplace discrimination lawsuit to pursue compensation from liable employers. Unfortunately, many victims fail to act because they wonder, “Did I experience disability discrimination?” 

Attorney Gregory Thyberg, who serves the SacramentoCA, area provides examples of employee disability discrimination to give workers a better understanding of what disability discrimination may look like in the workplace.

Who Is Protected by Disability Discrimination Laws? 

When considering whether or not an employee is a victim of disability discrimination it’s essential to determine if they are among the individuals protected by disability discrimination laws. Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), an employee is protected from disability discrimination if they are a member of a protected category. Employees are in a protected category if they experience:

  • A medical condition
  • A physical disability
  • A mental disability

As long as employees can perform essential job duties (with or without reasonable accommodations) without a substantial risk of injuring themselves or others, they are protected by FEHA laws.

What Does Disability Discrimination Look Like in the Workplace?

Despite FEHA protections, disability discrimination remains a problem in many Sacramento workplaces. Victims of employee disability discrimination may fail to report it because they are not sure if their experience qualifies as discrimination. Disability discrimination can occur in many different forms. Here we discuss some of the most common examples of employee disability discrimination.

Refusal to Hire or Promote

Employment laws prohibit employers from making hiring or firing decisions based on a protected characteristic, including a disability. When an employer refuses to hire or promote someone because of a disability, they are committing disability discrimination.

Cutting Pay or Benefits

Just as it is illegal for employers to make hiring or firing decisions based on a person’s disability, they cannot adjust pay or benefits due to a person’s disability. Any policy that denies a disabled worker equal pay or puts employees with a disability at a disadvantage is a form of discrimination.

Refusal to Provide Reasonable Accommodations

One aspect of protections provided by FEHA is the right to reasonable accommodations. The act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations that allow an employee to perform essential job duties. Reasonable accommodations include providing assistive devices, modifying the workplace, and allowing for a flexible schedule. Accommodations are considered “reasonable” if it does not create an undue hardship for the employer. Refusal of reasonable accommodations is an example of disability discrimination.


Harassment is an often overlooked example of disability discrimination. Harassment may be obvious and direct, such as making offensive remarks, or verbal or physical threats. Some forms of harassment are indirect. Indirect examples of harassment include making jokes and sharing material centered around a disability.

Contact Us

Employers who commit employee disability discrimination or fail to take appropriate steps to prohibit discrimination or harassment can be liable for related economic and non-economic damages. Individuals in the Sacramento area who believe they are victims of workplace disability discrimination can meet with attorney Gregory Thyberg to discuss their case. Contact our law firm online and request a personal consultation.

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Thyberg Law

Since 1981, Gregory A. Thyberg has been providing legal services to clients throughout Sacramento. With a focus on employment law, he can help you find a solution when facing discrimination, harassment, or other workplace injustices. Mr. Thyberg is affiliated with organizations like the:

  • California Bar Association
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyer’s Association

If you're experiencing unlawful discrimination in the workplace, request a consultation with Mr. Thyberg or call (916) 204-9173.

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