AB 987 - An Employee's Request For Reasonable Accommodation Constitutes "Protected Activity"
Assembly Bill 987 was signed by California Governor Jerry Brown in 2015 and it amends sections 12940(I) and 12940(m) of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) to clarify that an employer cannot retaliate against a person for requesting a reasonable accommodation because such a request constitutes "protected activity" under the FEHA.
In Response To Decision In Rope V. Auto-Chlor System Of Washington, Inc.
In Rope v. Auto-Chlor System of Washington, Inc., 220 Cal. App. 4th 635 (2013), the California Court of Appeal found that an employee who merely made a request for an accommodation does not engage in "protected activity" for purposes of pursuing a FEHA retaliation claim against an employer.
The California legislature sought to specifically target the above-described portion of the holding in Rope, as reflected in the legislative history of AB 987:
(d) Notwithstanding any interpretation of this issue in Rope v. Auto-Chlor Sys. of Washington, Inc., (2013) 220 Cal. App. 4th 635, the Legislature intends (1) to make clear that a request for reasonable accommodation on the basis of religion or disability is a protected activity, and (2) by enacting paragraph (2) of subdivision (m) and paragraph (4) of subdivision (I) of Section 12940, to provide protection against retaliation when an individual makes a request for reasonable accommodation under these sections, regardless of whether the request was granted.
AB 987 Should Apply To All Existing Claims
AB 987's amendment to the FEHA should apply to all existing claims and lawsuits. This is because the California Supreme Court has previously affirmed that, "A statute that merely clarifies, rather than changes, existing law" may be "applied to transactions predating its enactment." See W. Sec. Bank v. Sup. Ct., 15 Cal. 4th 232, 250 (1997).
Have You Been Retaliated Against For Requesting A Reasonable Accommodation?
If your employer has retaliated against you because you submitted a request to your employer for a reasonable accommodation based on your religion or disability, you are entitled to protection under the law. Contact Sani Law today to schedule a free consultation. We will aggressively pursue compensation from employers that fail to follow the law.