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When it comes to employment, there are various protected classes in the United States. Those in these classes cannot be discriminated against, and if they are, they may have legal recourse. This week, this column will specifically address disability discrimination and what California residents who are victims of it can do about it.

If an employer treats a disabled person -- whether he or she is a job applicant or a current employee -- unfavorably because of his or her disability, the employer is said to have committed disability discrimination. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from refusing to hire, failing to promote, refusing certain job opportunities or wrongfully terminating a person -- among other things -- because of his or her disability. Employers are required to accommodate disabled employees -- within reason.

It is also against the law for employers and other employees to harass disabled employees/job applicants. If harassment is an issue in the workplace, employers have a responsibility to put a stop to it. If they fail to do that, the victims may choose to hold them personally responsible.

Victims of disability discrimination suffer quite a bit emotionally and financially. It is a very real problem in California and other states, and it is not something that has to be put up with. Anyone who believes that they are the victim of this or any other form of discrimination can file claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as well as file claims in civil court in order to seek maximum relief for any resulting losses.

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