In April 2014 My Employer took me off of work due to restrictions reported on my medical release to return to work. They did this after I had been working for 6 months. When they took me off of work they said it was to do reasonable accommodations. They held a interactive meeting 2 weeks after removing me from work. They told me they would be calling me back to work in a week. They didn't. They sent me a letter to return to work on 6/23/14 but I was in a TTD status due to the injury. I made several attempt to have a meeting Aug. 2014 and Dec. 2014. They kept putting it off. I even sent email on 1/7/2015 to the Dept. Head, The reasonable accommodation coordinator and others who ignored my email. The coordinator retired 2 days after I sent the email. From 1/9/2015 to 11/20/15 there was no correspondence. On Nov 23, 2015 I got a letter saying they want to do a meeting. They never called I initiated the process Jan 2016. A meeting was set then canceled. I had to call in March to get a meeting. One meeting was held. I was told a 2nd meeting would be by 4/15/2016. As of today my employer won't respond to calls or email. Can I sue them for stress, loss of income, anything?
Based on the facts you provided, it is my opinion that you should speak to an EMPLOYMENT attorney ASAP. The facts you described require the attention of an attorney who is knowledgable in disability discrimination. If you are unable to find an attorney in your area via AVVO, check out the website of the California Employment Lawyers Association.
The writing on the wall is pretty clear. I think you should contact an employment attorney right away to discuss your options. At first blush, your set of facts seems actionable, but an attorney would need more to advise you properly.
It is illegal to discriminate against an employee because of that person's disability. Employers are required by the Fair Employment & Housing Act ("FEHA") to engage in a timely, good faith interactive process to determine if there is a reasonable accommodation that will allow an employee to perform the primary functions of his job.
One of the problems here is with the statute of limitations. You were required to file a complaint with the Dpt. of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) within 1 year of the illegal act. One argument you can make is that the interactive process was continuing, and therefore there was no law yet broken, but I think that would be a stretch given the facts of your case.
Another possibility would be to claim wrongful termination in violation of public policy, and/or wrongful constructive termination in violation of public policy. Unfortunately, although the statute of limitations for those claims is longer (but is still coming up rapidly for you) the remedies are much more limited.
If you believe that your rights have been violated, and you decide that you want to take legal action, make sure to do so within your statute of limitations or your rights may be lost forever.
I hope this information is helpful to you.
Craig T. Byrnes
Disclaimer: Please be aware that I am not offering legal advice, nor forming an attorney-client relationship with you. I am not representing you, nor doing anything to protect your legal rights. If you believe that you have suffered a legal wrong, take action before any statute or limitations expires, or your right to do so may be lost forever. Good luck in your legal matter.
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