Congress originally passed the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, in 1990. The law has since been amended in certain respects.
The point of the ADA is to protect people from discrimination based on a documented, or suspected, disability. The ADA applies to many areas of public life; one of its most important applications relates to the workplace.
Any employer with more than 14 employees must follow the ADA. As with other anti-discrimination laws, the law prohibits an employer from taking overt action against a person, such as firing them, denying them opportunities and the like, because of the person’s disability.
Likewise, an employer must assure that the workplace is not a hostile work environment with respect to those who are disabled. This means the employer must take reasonable steps to prevent harassment based on a person’s disability. Harassment can include misconduct like inappropriate jokes and comments, social ostracizing and the like.
Finally, when a worker has or develops a disability, the employer must afford a reasonable accommodation to the employee. For example, a cashier who has a condition which limits their ability to stand may be allowed to sit while working. However, an employer does not have to go to unduly costly or disruptive measures in order to accommodate a disability.
The definition of a disability is broad. In addition to physical conditions, disabilities also can include learning disabilities and other mental health or neurological conditions.
In another words, many residents of Southern California may qualify for protection under the ADA. Likewise, California law also may afford residents of the greater Los Angeles area additional protections.