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Can You Fire Citizens With Disability?

Can You Fire Citizens With Disability?

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Can You Fire Citizens With Disability?

Finding and keeping your job can be a challenge when you have a disability. However, a temporary or permanent disability should not stop individuals from getting and retaining satisfying employment and living a full life. It is immoral and unlawful for employers to discriminate against disabled workers or refuse reasonable accommodations. 

Discrimination at work or an unfair dismissal can have devastating consequences, with victims potentially facing significant emotional distress and an uncertain financial future. However, if you were fired due to your disability, you could have a case against your employer and seek compensation. Our experienced discrimination attorneys know how to fight back against unscrupulous employers and could help you get the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact Morgan & Morgan now for free legal advice.

What Qualifies as a Disability?

You qualify as disabled under the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) if you have a mental or physical impairment that severely limits one or several major life activities. Major life activities include, among others:

  • Hearing and seeing
  • Learning
  • Breathing
  • Performing manual tasks
  • Walking 
  • Personal care
  • Speaking
  • Bodily functions (digestion, circulation, and others)

Protections for Disabled Employees

Disabled workers enjoy protection under state and federal discrimination laws, similarly to other employees in a protected category based on their age, sex, race, or others. The ADA protects workers with a disability from discrimination in several areas, including transportation, public accommodations, and, importantly, employment. Disabled citizens are protected in the following employment-related activities and others: 

  • Recruitment 
  • Pay and benefits
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Promotion and career advancement

In addition, employers must provide reasonable accommodations for workers with a disability, as long as the modifications do not create an undue hardship for the employer. Reasonable accommodations can include:

  • Job tasks modification
  • Modification of the work environment 
  • Providing reserved parking
  • Allowing flexible work schedules
  • Adjusting equipment or software
  • Changing training materials 
  • Altering the way tests are performed

These and other applicable modifications allow the disabled individual to apply for a position, perform job functions, and enjoy equal employment opportunities available to employees without a disability.

Firing a Disabled Worker

There is a misconception among some employers and employees that it is not possible to fire a disabled worker. However, this is not the case. Employers can fire citizens with a disability, provided they do not wrongfully terminate the employee for a discriminatory reason.

When Can an Employer Lawfully Fire a Disabled Employee?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers can lawfully fire disabled employees if one of the following three circumstances apply: 

1. The termination is not related to the individual’s disability
OR
2. The employee fails to meet job requirements such as production standards or performance
OR
3. The employee poses a threat to the workplace’s health and safety due to their disability

An employer can also potentially terminate a disabled individual if they cannot make reasonable accommodations for the employee. It is important to note that the ADA generally only applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

If your employer fired you without a legitimate reason or failed to provide reasonable accommodations to help you perform your job, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Our experienced attorneys are committed to helping workers get justice. You could qualify for damages if your employer cannot show that they would have terminated you regardless of your disability. 

Wrongful Terminations of Disabled Employees

A wrongful termination arises when a disabled individual is fired due to their disability. However, in some cases, employers try to cover their tracks after a wrongful dismissal. They may argue that they fired the employee for performance-related reasons, or non-adherence to company policies, for example. In these cases, having an experienced attorney by your side can be critical for proving a wrongful termination.

What Are Common Wrongful Termination Cases?

Consider seeking legal advice as soon as possible if you were fired in the following situations: 

  • Your employer denied a request for reasonable accommodations, and you were fired shortly afterward. 
  • You received a termination notice after revealing your disability. 
  • Your supervisor or employer made disrespectful comments about your disability. 
  • Your employer fired you based on the assumption that you cannot do your job due to a disability.
  • Your employer treated you less favorably than non-disabled employees. 
  • You had to quit due to your employer or supervisor refusing to give you time off work for your disability.

Your Next Best Steps After a Wrongful Termination

If you want to file a wrongful termination lawsuit and pursue compensation, there are some steps you have to take. 

File a Charge of Employment Discrimination 

Before filing a lawsuit against your employer, you have to file a charge of discrimination with your state’s fair employment practices agency or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You will also have to act fast. Depending on the laws in your state, you might have only 180 days to file your discrimination charge.

Your state’s agency or the EEOC then typically investigates your case, tries to mediate, or, in extremely rare cases, files a lawsuit against your employer on your behalf.
However, once you have filed the charge, you can ask the EEOC for a "right to sue" letter. The notice confirms that you have filed a charge with the agency and gives you the right to file a lawsuit against your employer. It is crucial to note that you generally only have 90 days to file a suit after receiving this letter. 

Gather Evidence of Discrimination

Since you can fire citizens with a disability, wrongly dismissed workers have to prove discrimination to have a case. Therefore, collecting evidence is critical. You can start by reviewing your employment contract if you have one. What are you entitled to according to the contract? What are your rights? Has your employer made any promises, for example, regarding accommodations? Have those promises materialized during your employment? 

If you were not told why you were terminated, ask your employer for the reason. You should also ask to see your personnel file as it could include important details for your case. Ensure to save all digital communication between you and your employer, such as emails, text messages, and voicemails. Make sure to confirm all agreements regarding your termination, such as severance payments and others, in writing. 

You should also try and find coworkers who may have witnessed your employer’s wrongful conduct and discrimination against you. While it can be tough to find a coworker willing to speak out, having witnesses strengthens your case. Moreover, you may not be the only one who suffered a wrongful dismissal at your workplace. 

Contact an Employment Lawyer

If you were fired, your best first step can be getting in touch with our employment lawyers, who can determine whether you have a case. An attorney at Morgan & Morgan can also advise you on the best course of action, help you file an EEOC charge, and initiate a lawsuit against your employer. Most employers have experience with handling discrimination lawsuits, and having a seasoned attorney by your side could help you get the compensation you deserve.

Damages Disabled Citizens Could Recover

If you win a wrongful termination case, your employer could be forced to reinstate your job. However, understandably, victims of discrimination might not wish to return to the job where they suffered discrimination. However, you could also receive the following financial damages, depending on your case:

  • Back pay
  • Benefits
  • Salary adjustment
  • Overtime pay, commission, and tips 
  • Out-of-pocket losses
  • Attorney’s fees and legal expenses
  • Future income loss (if you are unlikely to find a job for some time)
  • Awards for emotional distress

In rare cases, wrongfully terminated employees could also receive punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended to punish an employer for any wrongdoing or illegal actions.

The Time for Filing a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit May Be Limited 

Do not wait too long to seek legal advice if you were fired unfairly. Timely action can be critical for the success of your case. Workers can typically only file a charge with the EEOC within 180 days after the discriminatory act or wrongful dismissal took place. In some cases, the period to file a charge could be longer. However, there could also be state-specific deadlines for filing a claim. Our discrimination attorneys can ensure to file all the necessary paperwork within the critical deadlines, so you do not risk losing your rights to legal recourse and compensation. 

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FAQ

Morgan & Morgan

  • Can I Request Time Off Work for My Disability?

    In some circumstances, you could be entitled to time off work for your disability. Potentially, time off work could qualify as a “reasonable accommodation” under the ADA. In addition to the ADA, disabled workers are also protected by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Qualifying employees could receive up to 12 weeks’ unpaid leave for a significant health condition or temporary disability. 

    However, it is important to note that the FMLA generally only applies to employers who have 50 or more employees. Applicants for leave must also meet specific eligibility requirements. 

  • I Was Fired Due to My Disability; What Should I Do? 

    Experiencing a wrongful termination can be devastating and cause financial chaos for the victim and their family. When you get fired illegally, you should take action as soon as possible and: 

    • Document everything to do with your job and the termination
    • Contact an employment attorney for help and advice
    • File a charge with the EEOC 

    OR 

    • File a charge with the relevant agency in your state
  • How Much Does a Wrongful Termination Attorney Cost?

    Employment lawyers and law firms charge their clients in different ways. For example, some attorneys charge upfront retainers before they even start to work on your case. Others may charge an hourly fee. The problem with these arrangements is that clients may be left out of pocket whether they win or lose their case.

    Morgan & Morgan is different. We understand that money can be tight when individuals lose their job unfairly. We don’t want you to be out of pocket at any stage during the legal process. When we take your case, you do not pay a dime until and unless we win. We do not charge any upfront attorney’s fees, and there won’t be any nasty surprises such as hidden costs or fees if you lose the case.

  • How Can Morgan & Morgan Help Me With a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit?

    Handling any discrimination case on your own can be tough. Employers, especially larger companies, have usually fought numerous discrimination cases before. They tend to have the knowledge, resources, and legal support required to fight such lawsuits. In contrast, most employees have never filed a case against an employer before and may not know how to begin or where to turn. 

    This is when an experienced and tenacious employment attorney from Morgan & Morgan can stand firmly by your side and fight for your rights. Our attorneys can help you with all aspects of a discrimination lawsuit and advise you on the resources available in your state. We can protect your legal rights, help file an EEOC charge, and handle your lawsuit from beginning to end. Other ways in which we can help:

    • Explaining your legal rights and options
    • Filing a lawsuit against your employer
    • Collect the evidence required to prove wrongful termination
    • Assessing your damages and future damages
    • Taking your case to trial and fighting hard for the best possible outcome
  • Morgan & Morgan Fights for the Disabled 

    While you potentially can fire citizens with a disability, it is morally wrong and illegal to fire a disabled employee for a discriminatory reason. No employer should get away with such a wrongful action. We know that standing up to your employer can feel intimidating and overwhelming. However, you do not have to struggle alone. Morgan & Morgan knows how to fight the big bullies. We have been holding powerful unethical employers accountable for decades and could fight for you too.

    Wrongful termination can turn your life upside down, causing financial instability and emotional distress. Don’t let it ruin your future. Our experienced and committed attorneys can be here for you during this stressful and upsetting time. We want you to win and recover what you deserve. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with us today to determine your options and next best steps.  

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