The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects workers from employment discrimination based on disability status. This means that your employer cannot fire you or refuse to hire you simply because of your disability. In real life, things are not that simple. The law contains protections for workers as well as for employers. It does not protect every disabled employee from being fired from any job at any time for any reason. The details of the employment termination make all the difference. It depends when, why, and under what circumstances the employer terminated the worker’s employment. If you think your employer has subjected you to unfair termination because of your disability, contact a New Jersey employment lawyer.
Your Employer Cannot Fire You When You are on FMLA Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act protects you from being fired from your job when you take a leave of absence for up to 12 weeks because of a disability or other medical condition of yours, or else to care for a family member, including newborn children. FMLA provides for unpaid leave, but it requires your employer to give you your job back once the 12 weeks are up. Your employer does not have the right to fire you while you are on FMLA leave.
Reasonable Accommodations or Undue Hardship?
The ADA specifies that employers must make reasonable accommodations for workers with disabilities, as long as making the accommodation does not cause undue hardship for the employer. Employers and employees sometimes disagree about what constitutes a reasonable accommodation and what constitutes an undue hardship. For example, if you continue to use a wheelchair after the FMLA period ends, your employer might have to make changes to your desk or office space to make it more accessible. If you have been prescribed medication that makes it dangerous for you to drive or to ride in taxis or rideshare cars, your employer might let you telecommute until your doctor tells you to stop the medication. In general, the more the accommodations cost your employer, the stronger your employer’s case for claiming undue hardship.
Furthermore, your employer can terminate your job while you are on disability leave if the termination is unrelated to your disability. For example, the company might be downsizing simply because of an economic downturn. If your job performance was poor before your injury or illness began, your employer has the right to terminate your employment. Finally, your employer can fire you if you do not return to work after your FMLA leave ends even after the employer makes reasonable accommodations to facilitate your return.
The Law Protects People With Disabilities from Employment Discrimination
People with disabilities have the right to protection from employment discrimination, but employers have the right to terminates employees’ positions when doing so is not a matter of discrimination. If you were unfairly fired because of your disability, an employment discrimination lawyer can help. Contact McOmber McOmber & Luber in Red Bank, New Jersey to discuss your case.