On August 29, a California Court of Appeals, in Castro-Ramirez v. Dependable Highway Express, Inc., recognized a cause of action for associational disability discrimination in the workplace.

Castro-Ramirez’s son requires daily dialysis and the evidence showed that the plaintiff was the only family member trained to administer the dialysis. The plaintiff was scheduled to work an early shift with Dependable Highway Express (DHE) so that he could be home in the evenings to give his son the dialysis treatment. His supervisor had scheduled him for years to accommodate his need to be home in the evenings.

When a new supervisor took over, the supervisor changed Castro-Ramirez’s work schedule to a later shift that interfered with his ability to be at home when his son required dialysis. The plaintiff refused to work the new schedule and was fired for his refusal to work the new shift. After being fired, he filed a lawsuit against DHE for associational disability discrimination among other claims.

The trial court failed to recognized the cause of action for associational disability discrimination. The plaintiff filed a timely appeal after a judgment was entered in DHE’s favor. The appeal court recognized that the State of California provides for greater protection concerning disability protection than that provided by the ADA and FEHA. The court found that the plaintiff had a valid cause of action for associational disability discrimination and reversed the trial court’s findings.

If you care for a family member with a disability and believe that your employer has or may have discriminated against you based on your association with that family member, you should contact an employment law attorney that is experienced in handling workplace discrimination claims. If you have been the victim of disability discrimination, please call Aiman-Smith & Marcy at 510-817-2711 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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