Chronic Illness Protection
While suffering from a chronic illness can make it difficult to maintain a normal workplace experience, employees should not face discrimination or retaliation based on a disability, illness, or health condition. A chronic illness or disability is not an easy fight, on top of the stressors and responsibilities of work. Fortunately, Federal and State law make it unlawful for you to be discriminated against or harassed in the workplace because of your disability or health condition.
Protect Your Career Today – Don’t Tolerate Discrimination
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects people with disabilities, including illnesses, from discrimination in the workplace. The ADA defines disability as any physical or mental impairment that significantly limits a major life activity or a person’s ability to perform basic tasks, such as walking, bending, reading, learning, or speaking. Impairments that affect bodily functions are also covered, such as chronic conditions of bowel, bladder, neurological, respiratory, endocrine, and immune system. Further, employees are protected by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), which established chronic conditions and disabilities as a protected class.
Common illnesses that may affect employees in the workplace:
- Bipolar mood disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Coronary artery disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
If you have any of the conditions or illness above, you may need accommodations to your schedule, routines, or tasks at work. Luckily, the ADA and NJLAD requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and current employees suffering with certain illnesses. Reasonable accommodations may include modifications to either the functions of a job or to the environment in which employees work. Accommodations gives the individuals the tools to succeed, be competitive, and stay employed in a position for which they are qualified.
While employers are expected to provide reasonable accommodations, they are not expected to provide accommodations that could create an undue hardship. For the purposes of the ADA, accommodations could be considered an undue hardship if they create significant difficulty for a business, either logistically or financially. McOmber & McOmber’s experienced illness discrimination attorneys can determine if your accommodations are reasonable.
New Jersey Law Against Discrimination also prohibits retaliation based on a chronic illness, disability, or medical condition. An employer or boss cannot become aware of your condition and attempt to push you out, make your employment miserable, or harass you – which is defined as retaliation.
The ADA applies to all private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions with 15 or more employees. It also applies to all employment matters, including job application procedures, hiring, firing, layoffs, compensation and benefits. If you feel your employer is discriminating or retaliating against you due to your chronic condition or illness, an employment attorney at McOmber & McOmber is here to represent you in the matter.