We all know California is a pretty employee-friendly state. Employers are regularly and rightfully bewildered when it comes to knowing the ins-and-outs of California’s laws, especially when it comes to some of the more obscure requirements allowing them to miss work. Well, we’re here to help key you in on a few of the more
We all know that agency regulations can be informative guidance but, by their nature, extremely detailed and—let’s face it—dry as toast. The new disability regulations, which went into effect on December 30, 2012, are no exception.
The regulations seek to “clarify” statutory definitions and employers’ obligations to an employee with an actual or perceived disability. However, these “clarifications” expand employers burdens under California law.
Expanded Definition Of “Disability” Including:
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- autism spectrum
- heart disease
- multiple sclerosis
- seizure disorder
- clinical depression
- obsessive compulsive disorder
- bipolar disorder
Before the regulations: Whether these conditions met the definition of “disability” under California law was subject to debate, as many other conditions.
After the regulations: Not much to debate. The new regulations specifically say that the analysis as to whether a condition is a disability should not be extensive, regardless if it is a condition explicitly recognized by regulations as such.
Expanded Definition of “Major Life Activities”: The definition of “major life activities” now includes sleeping, thinking, and interacting with others (which implies that social disorders will now also be considered disabilities).
How To Determine When Functions Are Essential? The regulations provide additional guidance as to when a job function is essential. Updated and accurate job descriptions are crucial and are now actually required by the regulations. Performance evaluations will also assist in determining whether a function is essential.
The Growing List Of Reasonable Accommodations: Similar to the new pregnancy disability regulations that we discussed here and here, the disability regulations include a broader list of reasonable accommodations.