WHAT IS ECZEMA?
Eczema is a form of dermatitis, which generally involves recurring skin rashes with itching, dryness, redness, flaking, cracking, blistering, or even bleeding of the skin.
The most effective treatment for eczema is topical moisturizing. Further, an individual with eczema should discontinue the use of anything that might dry out the skin, such as bath soaps or bubble baths. Most doctors recommend twice daily application of extremely thick creams to the driest patches of skin. Occasionally, antibiotics are also prescribed in extreme circumstances.
WAYS IN WHICH YOU MIGHT BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE OF ECZEMA
- Your employer does not allow you to miss work for medical appointments, which may be necessary for both diagnosis and treatment
- Your employer does not accommodate your need to take a reasonable amount of time off of work
- Your employer will not provide reasonable on-site accommodations for your disability
HOW THE LAW PROTECTS YOU IF YOU HAVE ECZEMA
To state a cause of action for disability discrimination, an employee must be disabled, regarded as disabled, or have a record of being disabled. The employee must then show that:
- his or her disability results in physical limitations
- that he or she can still perform the essential functions of the job (with or without reasonable accommodations)
- and that the employer took some adverse action (such as not hiring, firing, or demoting the employee) on the basis of that disability
Both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act protect individuals against discrimination on the basis of a disability. Eczema can render an individual disabled, deserving of protection from discrimination, as long as the disability is severe enough to limit the individual's ability to work. Accordingly, an employer may not take any adverse action against an employee because of the employee's eczema. The employer also has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee with eczema so as to allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the job. The law will protect an employee whose employer does not provide these necessary accommodations. For example, if an employee with eczema needs to leave work for medical appointments to treat the eczema, the employer must accommodate the individual accordingly, unless doing so would unduly burden the employer.
Eczema is also a medical condition, within the definition of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, deserving of protection from discrimination. FEHA defines a medical condition as any health impairment related to, or associated with, a diagnosis of cancer, for which a person has been rehabilitated or cured, based on competent medical evidence; or any genetic characteristic.
An employer may not take an adverse action (such as firing, refusing to hire, or failing to accommodate an employee's needs) on the basis of an employee's medical condition. An employer has an obligation to accommodate the employee by allowed him or her to attend medical appointments, receive treatment, and provide reasonable on-site accommodations for the condition.
- For Legal Help see Finding an Attorney and David H. Greenberg, California Employment Law Attorney.