Los Angeles disability discrimination is covered under the state law Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). FEHA is the California state equivalent of the Article VII of the Civil Rights Code of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), wherein it protects its citizens from discrimination and harassment in the areas of employment and housing. This is the primary California law that prohibits employment discrimination by employers, labor organizations, employment agencies, apprenticeship programs and other entities based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex and medical conditions or disabilities. Both ADA and FEHA protects employees from disability discrimination in the areas of work application, promotion, termination, compensation and benefits. Under ADA, a person is deemed to be disabled if he has the following: • The individual should have a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more of his major life activities • The individual has a record of having such an impairment • The individual is being regarded as having such impairment The FEHA on the other hand provides that an individual has a disability if he or she is limited in performing a very important life activity. FEHA’s measure of limitation is significantly lower to render more protection from discrimination policies. The FEHA considers a “job” or “work” as a very important life activity compared to ADAs. As a result, a person may be considered disabled under FEHA even if the medical condition only limits the person’s ability to perform one activity. Under FEHA conditions, a person who is unable to work because of his disability is sufficient proof of limitation in an important activity. Another difference between FEHA and ADA is in the treatment of mitigating conditions. Mitigation of condition refers to measures taken by the employee to lessen the effects of the disabling condition such as wearing glasses, getting a hearing aid, or walking with a cane. Under ADA, an employee’s disabling condition is evaluated or assessed on a mitigated status which results in a reduced chance of being considered disabled. FEHA, on the other hand, evaluate disabling conditions on an unmitigated state. This increases the chances of an individual to be declared as disabled. Another unique trait of FEHA compared to its federal counterparts is it allows the imposition of punitive damages to the offending parties. A punitive damage is awarded to punish the employers and prevent him and others from committing similar acts in the future. The employee has the burden of proving that punitive damages should be awarded by providing evidence that the acts of the employer were malicious or a reckless disregard of the employee’s rights. This includes company officers, directors, or managing agents engaging in disability discrimination or harassment. Pursuing a disability discrimination lawsuit can be complicated. The employee should be familiar with the existing federal and state laws that could be applied to his/her case. A Los Angeles disability discrimination attorney will be of great help in assisting you in your legal battles especially if you are under the state of California.