On February 18, 2021 a decision was entered in the case of Brown v. Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) at the 2nd district Court of Appeals in California. The court concluded that “Brown adequately pled her cause of action for failure to provide reasonable accommodation for her disability.” They reversed a lower courts decision that had ruled in favor of LAUSD.
Brown is a teacher in the LAUSD school district. After the school upgraded their Wi-Fi system Brown experienced, “chronic pain, headaches, nausea, itching, burning sensations on her skin, ear issues, shortness of breath, inflammation, heart palpitations, respiratory complications, foggy headedness, and fatigue, all symptoms of Microwave Sickness or EHS.”
Brown sued LAUSD after efforts to obtain reasonable accommodations failed. The trial court ruled in favor of LAUSD. Brown appealed that decision and won. The appeals court based their decision on California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) which provides disability protections independent of, and above and beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Excerpt from the Decision:
“The Legislature has stated its intent that “physical disability” be construed so that employees are protected from discrimination due to actual or perceived physical impairment that is disabling, potentially disabling, or perceived as disabling or potentially disabling.”
“FEHA states a “physical disability” includes, but is not limited to, “any physiological disease, disorder, condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss that does both of the following: Affects one or more of the following body systems: neurological, immunological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory, including speech organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin and endocrine…Limits a major life activity…`Major life activities’ shall be broadly construed and includes physical, mental, and social activities and working.”
You can read the decision here: Brown vs LAUSD