WHAT IS SHORT STATURE?
Short stature is a human stature that is below the expected height. Shortness does not have a precise definition, and it has a significant relativity to context. This lack of precision often results in disagreement about the degree of shortness that should be called short. Shortness in elderly adults is usually due to loss of height caused by collapsed vertebrae from osteoporosis or kyphosis of the spine. Severe shortness can be a variation of normal, resulting from familial genes. It can be due to one or more of many abnormal conditions, such as malnutrition, disease of a major organ system, hormone deficiency, and birth defects.
There is no treatment for short stature, as an individual is born with this disease and will carry this burden throughout his or her life. There are, however, different aids that allow an individual with short stature to lead an easier life. Such accommodations include lower kitchen sinks, lower bathroom amenities, and car amenities.
WAYS IN WHICH YOU MIGHT BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BECAUSE OF SHORT STATURE
- Your employer does not allow you to miss work for medical appointments
- 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
- Your employer does not provide you with on site accommodations so as to allow someone of your height to work
HOW THE LAW PROTECTS YOU IF YOU ARE OF SHORT STATURE
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 provide protection against discrimination on the basis of disability. Short stature is a disability, deserving of protection from discrimination, as long as the individual's short stature limits his or her ability to work. Accordingly, an employer may not take any adverse action against an employee because of the employee's short stature. The employer also has an obligation to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee with short stature 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, an individual with short stature might need to have certain amenities on site so as to allow him or her to perform the essential functions of the job. An employer has an obligation to accommodate the employee accordingly, unless doing so would unduly burden the employer.
- For Legal Help see Finding an Attorney and David H. Greenberg, California Employment Law Attorney.