If you were recently diagnosed with a disability, such as a back injury and you were fired, you may find that your employer has violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Under the ADA, an employer is not permitted to fire an employee who has a disability simply because they have a disability. The only time an employer can fire a worker is when the termination has nothing to do with the disability.
For example, when the employee fails to meet quite legitimate requirements for the job like performance or set production standards without or with reasonable accommodation, or because the employee’s disability poses an immediate threat to the health or safety present in the workplace.
Employer May be Violating the ADA if You Were Fired
If your employer fired you because of your disability even though you could perform the essential duties of the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation, s/he may be in violation of ADA. If you wish to file a charge, you may visit the EEOC office close to you and fill in a form at the interview.
You can also mail a complaint as long as it includes names and contact details of both you and your employer, the number of employees hired by your employer, a description of the events leading up to your termination, why you think you suffered discrimination and your signature.
You are given 300 days to submit your EEOC charge if your state has in force a law that prohibits any sort of disability discrimination. If it doesn’t, you might have just 180 days to file. The clock begins from the day and time your employer discriminated against you.
What to Do If Fired
If you decide your employer has violated the ADA you will need to gather the evidence to prove it.
For example, if you believe your employer denied you reasonable accommodation and because of this you were unable to perform your job well this is a good reason to lodge a complaint about your employer’s action. You will need to show proof of your request for reasonable accommodation and proof that your employer denied it which led you to being fired. You may need to ask work colleagues to provide testimonies as to how you were treated by your employer.
You should also provide evidence of any conversations or emails that took place between you and your employer which showed s/he had breached the ADA requirements.
As soon as you have filed your charge, the agency will inform your employer and request that it responds. The agency might investigate further by asking other employees about what they have seen and heard. They may request certain documents from your employer as well.
If they find a violation they may turn to mediation as a way of solving it amicably. If a resolution can’t be reached the agency may issue to you a “right to sue” letter. This states that you have met the requirements for filing a violation with the agency and are now given the right to file a lawsuit. You may only be given 90 days to do this.
How the ADA Protects Those With Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects anyone with a disability from discrimination. The protection covers a number of different things such as:
- local and state government services
- public accommodation
The ADA is relevant to employers who hire at least 15 employees. This includes state and local governments, labor organizations and employment agencies. The ADA seeks to protect anyone who as an individual:
- possesses a physical or mental impairment which limits his/her ability to take part in key life activities;
- Has built up a history for the particular impairment;
- Has been seen with the impairment.
The ADA measures the impairment when the condition has become severe. If you are occasionally impaired, the ADA will examine when your symptoms are most commonly noticeable.
What Qualifies for the ADA?
The ADA‘s broad definition for a disability is a physical or mental impairment that affects the working of the body. Some examples are:
- blindness or any other visual impairments;
- types of cancer;
- long term depression;
- hearing/speech impairments
- heart disease
- muscular dystrophy
- migraine headaches
- cerebral palsy
- multiple sclerosis
- any orthopedic impairment
- pregnancy complications
- disorders to the thyroid gland;
- loss of a body part(s);
- mental retardation;
- intellectual disabilities.
If you don’t meet the ADA criteria, you may still be covered by the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
Speak With an Employment Law Attorney
If you believe your termination was unfair, a lawyer may help you get compensation from your employer.