Were You Wrongfully Terminated? Contact Us Today
Any legal professional can walk you through workplace rights, if you are unfamiliar. One of the most important is that employees who have disabilities are protected from discrimination in the workplace, and their employer must provide reasonable accommodations.
While it’s illegal, people with disabilities are being fired from their job every day. These claims are referred to as wrongful terminations. If you’ve been fired due to your disability, it’s important that you consult Los Angeles wrongful disability termination lawyers to assist you in taking up legal action against your former employer.
What Is A Disability?
Federal laws use the ADA to properly define that a disability is a mental or physical impairment that limits a major life activity. Major life activities are defined as things that are essential to a person’s daily life including taking care of oneself, performing manual tasks, breathing, walking, hearing, seeing, and learning.
Under the Disability Discrimination Laws, employees with disabilities cannot be discriminated against in their place of work. This includes using their disability when deciding on promotions, compensation, disciplines, assignments, and benefits. As long as you’re capable of performing the essential functions of the position that you’re hired for, your employer may not fire you because of your disability.
Understanding Reasonable Accomodations
The ADA requires employers to provide disabled employees with reasonable accommodations. These accommodations are to help with providing assistance or altering a workplace or job to permit the disabled employee to perform their duties.
The best way to really understand what reasonable accommodations are is to look at a couple of real-life examples. Let’s say Dave has been diagnosed with diabetes. Due to this disability., he must eat more often than the average individual. Reasonable accommodations would be permitting Dave to have more frequent breaks for eating and checking his blood sugar levels.
In another example, let’s say Susan must use a wheelchair to get around. This disability requires the employer to offer ramps for access to the building. In addition, Susan may require a desk that is at a lower height that fits her wheelchair. These are considered reasonable accommodations by the employer.
A Look At Time Off Of Work
Employees with disabilities are entitled to time off of work. The federal Family and Medical Leave Act, known as FMLA for short, entitles employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for any serious medical condition. This time can be used for things like surgery, recovering from an injury, and ongoing cancer treatments.
Unfortunately, FMLA only applies to employers with 50 or more employees as well as any government agency. Some states have enacted medical laws to cover unpaid time off for people with disabilities that work at smaller businesses. It’s a good idea to enlist the help of a local Los Angeles workplace lawyer to determine what rights you’re entitled to at your place of employment.
What To Do If You’ve Been Fired Due To Your Disability?
Lawyers can assist you if you’ve been recently fired due to your disability. The first step that you’ll want to take is hiring a legal professional with experience in handling unfair firing cases. They will not only handle taking care of all the frustrating legal paperwork, but they can also answer all of your questions regarding the law and your disability.
Filing A Discrimination Charge
Once you enlist the help of a lawyer, it’s time to file a discrimination charge. Before you can legally sue your employer for disability discrimination in the workplace, you first must file a discrimination charge with a local government agency. This agency is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC. This federal agency is uniquely in charge of enforcing the ADA laws.
In some states, the limit may be 180 days, while in other states, the limit goes up to 300 days after your firing takes place. When you submit your charge, your lawyer will describe your employer’s actions and why they could be considered discrimination based on your disability.
Once the EEOC receives your claim, they will do their own independent investigation. Each EEOC has its own state agencies that handle claims in their own state. It’s a part of the EEOC’s job to help settle the dispute through mediation. If you’re unable to reach an agreement with the help of your state’s EEOC agency, they may provide you with a ‘Right To Sue’ letter.
Receiving A Right To Sue Letter
After the EEOC performs their investigation and are unable to reach any successful mediation, the EEOC can issue you a Right To Sue letter. This letter states that you’ve met the qualifications to file an administrative charge against your former employer. Once you receive this letter, you have 90 days to sue your employer. If you don’t, you give up your federal right to do so.
What Damages Can You Receive?
When you sue your former employer for wrongful termination due to your disability, there are various types of damages that you can collect. While, in the ideal situation, your former employer would be required to reinstate you, that’s typically not feasible. Rather, you’ll be awarded monetary damages. These include:
- Back Pay
- Attorney Fees
- Front Pay
- Emotional Distress
Federal laws will limit the amount of money that you can collect for some damages. These include emotional distress, punitive damages, and out of pocket losses.
You didn’t ask for your disability, and your employer should take a reasonable effort to accommodate you. An experienced wrongful termination lawyer can explain the different forms of compensation more in depth, as well as look at your individual case and determine the best course of action. An attorney like Mann & Elias will make sure you receive justice for the discrimination your workplace has dealt you.