Based on numbers kept by the United States government, under the ADA Congressional Committee, at least 20 percent of all Americans live with a disability, which means that there are over 43 million people out there who are disabled to some degree. These people suffer from a unique vulnerability to poverty, unemployment, discrimination, and abuse.
There are laws in place to protect people with disabilities from this kind of exploitation, the most well-known of which is the Americans with Disabilities Act. Learn everything you need to know about California disability law to protect yourself from discrimination, and where to find help to protect your rights.
The Americans with Disabilities Act
The ADA is a set of laws that provides protection from discrimination for the millions of Americans who live with disabilities. This act largely covers discrimination regarding employment, requiring proper accommodations for those with disabilities to ensure that they can live a reasonably productive life like anyone else.
Unruh Civil Rights Act
The Unruh Act is specific to California and expands the protections provided by other federal laws, prohibiting discrimination based on disability in any and all business dealings in the state. This includes providing services, hiring and housing and public accommodations. The state’s Civil Code in Sections 54-55.2 specifically grants people with disabilities the same rights as other people to use streets, public spaces, walkways, medical facilities and public facilities.
Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act is another federal law, which makes it illegal to discriminate against disabled people in terms of renting or selling properties. It also requires building and facilities owners to allow for reasonable exceptions and accommodations to provide equal opportunities to those with disabilities.
FEHA – Fair Employment and Housing Act
Another California-specific Act, FEHA is located in the California Government Code, sec. 12900 to 12976. It strengthens the protections allowed under the Fair Housing Act, and protects against discrimination based on any mental or physical disability. The key to this law is that it expands the definition of what counts as a disability.
Again, another federal law, the Rehabilitation Act prohibits all discrimination based on disability in any federally conducted or funded programs, as well as against federal contractors. It’s in place to clarify that federal operations and employees are bound by the same prohibitions on discrimination as are private businesses and facilities.
What to Do If You Suffer Discrimination
If you’re the victim of discrimination based on your disability, you have options. The law is on your side, and you can get a resolution to your case. In some situations, this is simply a ruling that you are entitled to the services you’ve been denied. In other situations, you can seek monetary compensation for your suffering, which in the worst cases can even include punitive damages.
Working with a California Disability Lawyer
If you do need to seek restitution for disability-based discrimination issues, however, you need the right help. This comes in the form of a California disability lawyer. The right attorney will know which laws apply to your situation, the legal theories necessary to pursue your case, and the damages to pursue. If you’re in Southern California and need help in your case, contact the Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour for a free consultation and help today.