ADA (American Disabilties Act) and FEHA (Fair Employment and Housing Act)

Despite the fact that FEHA (Fair Employment and Housing Act) has been enacted several decades ago, most people who are familiar with the basic ADA disability protections against discrimination at workplace, are not familiar or have not even heard about the FEHA. Fair Employment and Housing Act – a California version of the federal ADA, is similar and in some ways far more protective of employees than its federal counterpart.

One of the significant differences between the two laws which favors employees in the FEHA is the definition of disability. Under ADA, disability is an impairment that substantially limits a basic physical or mental function of the body. Under FEHA, on the other hand, there is no requirement of “substantial” limitation and basically any limitation of a basic physical or mental function is considered disability, entitling a worker in California to the protections, and generally triggering the employer’s obligation to engage in interactive process and provide reasonable accommodations. California Government Code 12926.1 codifies the definition of disability which is very broad and includes a wide range of chronic and non-chronic conditions that would qualify as a disability at workplace.

For more information, read the full text of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.