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What should I do if I’m experiencing ableism at my workplace?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2023 | Workplace Discrimination

California boasts extensive legal provisions against disability discrimination, emphasizing fair treatment in the workplace. Employers are broadly mandated to accommodate employees with disabilities, fostering an inclusive and accessible environment.

But despite these protections, employees with disabilities still experience ableism in the workplace all too often. Discerning ableism involves recognizing subtle cues, from exclusionary practices to unequal opportunities. Understanding these signs is crucial for employees seeking a remedy for their workplace challenges.

Steps to address ableism at work

Understanding your rights is the first step towards fighting for them in the workplace if you are an employee who is differently abled. Employees with disabilities in the Golden State have the right to reasonable accommodations and protection from discriminatory practices. By familiarizing yourself with the intricacies of these regulations, you can determine when you may have grounds to seek legal recourse.

The first thing every employee should do when they experience ableism at the workplace is to initiate a conversation with their immediate supervisor about the issues they are facing. Clearly communicate the impact of ableism on your work and request reasonable accommodations to facilitate a smoother work experience.

If you see no change, consider sharing your concerns with the Human Resources department (HR) and provide it with necessary documentation. HR can be instrumental in mediating workplace conflicts. Department personnel can also guide you through the internal processes to address discrimination effectively.

Legal recourse for disability discrimination

If internal remedies fail, consider seeking legal guidance and filing a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). This agency investigates claims of discrimination, helping to ensure a fair and impartial review of cases.

When you make up your mind about taking legal action, a good place to start is compiling a meticulous record of discriminatory incidents. This documentation should include dates, times, locations and individuals involved to bolster your case.

Navigating ableism in the workplace requires a proactive and informed approach. By understanding your rights, documenting incidents and seeking the support of both internal resources and legal guidance, you can confront disability discrimination with greater confidence.