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How does the FEHA differ from the ADA?

California takes employment law very seriously, and employees of nearly all walks of life are protected by the Fair Employment and Housing Act, which protects many employees from discrimination or harassment based on their age, race, gender and many other things. The FEHA also provides these protections to disabled individuals. You may wonder why California needs such a law considering that a federal law exists in the form of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but you may not know that the FEHA actually provides broader protections than the ADA.

One of the ways in which FEHA is broader than the ADA is that the FEHA has broader definitions of disabilities. Under the federal law’s ADA, something must cause a “substantial limitation” to major life activity in order to be qualified as a protected disability. Under California’s FEHA, the limitation does not have to be substantial. Any issue that limits a major life activity could be considered a disability.

You may not realize that the FEHA prohibits employers from doing many things regarding your disability. For example, your employer cannot make inquiries as to whether you have a disability, nor can they inquire about the extent of your disability in either written or verbal form. They may make inquiries that ensure you are able to perform the functions of your job, but they cannot directly address your disability or the nature and severity of it.

You can read more about the protections afforded by the FEHA in this article. If you believe that your employer has infringed upon your rights in a way that violated the FEHA, consider discussing your case with an attorney. You could be compensated for your suffering.

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