Terminated for Medical Disability: Is It Wrongful Termination or Discrimination?


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Being terminated due to a disability may be unlawful and could lead to a civil suit against the employer. The circumstances of the termination, the disability and the employee are crucial in understanding if there is a case to pursue against the company when being fired.

If someone has been fired for a disability, this is discrimination as explained in the Americans with Disabilities Act. Typically, this legislation is enforced for someone with severe disabilities or those that have been disabled most or all of their lives. However, if someone becomes disabled either temporarily or permanently, he or she may have a case of discrimination due to this condition. The employer is by law required to make reasonable accommodations for those with ailments or physical disabilities that does not incur an undue cost to the company. If this is not provided, the business could be liable for damages.

No matter what state the employee lives in, it is not generally permitted for the company to discriminate against any employ that has a disability. With the reasonable accommodations, the worker is entitled to keep or obtain a job as long as the disability does not place a great strain on the organization. Typically, these situations lead to a minimal increase in funds to ensure a disabled person is able to work within the company. The legal rights afforded to these persons are explained better with the legislation passed across the country for job security and using skills to acquire income.

Medical Disability and Protections

The Americans with Disabilities Act is in place and has been for decades to protect those with disabilities from discrimination. When a private employer has fifteen or more persons working for him or her, the ADA applies, and state disability discrimination laws often protect when the company is smaller. Disabilities are considered physical or mental impairments or conditions that limit major life functions in a substantial way. This could be daily life, being able to care for daily interactions, walking, hearing, sight, speech, manual tasks and similar concerns. Many of these prevent the disabled from working and obtaining gainful employment.

Discrimination is prevented through the ADA when the person is considered disabled in one of these manners. He or she has serious impairments for these major life activities and functions which may also include health conditions such as immune systems, normal cell production, reproduction and issues with the mind. A history of disability or a record with a healthcare facility is used to determine that someone qualifies for the ADA protections. Incorrect perceptions or misconceptions about these issues does not excuse an employer from discrimination. Even if the employee is able to function as others, he or she could still have a disability with needed accommodation at some point.

Wrongful Termination and Discrimination

When a disabled person has been terminated because of the disability, this is wrongful termination and the company may be liable for damages to the employee. This is illegal activity when the company is over fifteen persons federally, and may be a violation in the state with other legislation. It is important to pursue action if this is what occurred. However, one difficulty the worker may face is that the manager or employer may attempt to prove that the disabled person was fired for his or her performance and lack of following rules. Showing the court that another reason is true may be complicated and difficult to demonstrate.

All appropriate documentation about the essential functions being performed by the employee, stats and records of compliance as well as supervisor and manager comments approving the methods used by the worker are crucial. These may refute the claims of the company. Then, discrimination or harassment while in the workplace should be documented and retained for litigation purposes. Tangible proof is important and shows the judge or jury that the employee was discriminated by the employer or management because of the disability and not for any other reason. Other items may be included such as being passed over for promotion, raises, compensation and benefits may assist in showing how the worker was wrongfully terminated.

The Use of a Lawyer in Wrongful Termination

When these situations arise, it is imperative to hire a lawyer to assist in showing the court how the employee was wrongfully terminated and discriminated at while at the jobsite. Using the documentation and recorded items, it may be possible to successfully inform the courtroom.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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