California employers may be surprised to learn that nearly one-third of discrimination charges filed through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2015 involved disability issues. Many large corporations have been affected by such legal entanglements. For example, Lowe’s recently settled a suit for more than $8 million.

Employment can be a challenge for individuals with disabilities, a fact reflected by Bureau of Labor Statistics records. Less than 20 percent of disabled individuals were employed in 2015. Nearly two-thirds of those not disabled were employed during the same period. Although disability accommodations can be challenging to a company’s budget or model, there could be some positive benefits for those endeavoring to incorporate more disabled employees into their operations. In addition to avoiding problems with discrimination claims, a welcoming environment that includes a diverse workforce could be viewed positively by both customers and investors.

The increase of discrimination charges might be a result of more support from interested groups involved in employee rights. Additionally, a greater awareness of rights may motivate disabled parties to stand up to adverse treatment. However, fear of intimidation or adverse treatment could still affect many individuals facing difficulties on the job related to their disabilities. Fear of retribution might cause an individual to tolerate discriminatory behavior.

An individual who is unsure of the legality of an employer’s action might wonder if a workplace discrimination claim is warranted. It is possible to discuss one’s situation and concerns with an employment lawyer without alerting an employer. A lawyer could provide tips for documenting adverse behaviors or otherwise obtaining evidence of the action. They might also provide practical recommendations for reporting concerns through company avenues or the EEOC.