Disability Discrimination Attorney’s Top Answers: Can I be fired because I have epilepsy? Is a modified work schedule a reasonable accommodation? Do I have to disclose my disability to a prospective employer to receive a reasonable accommodation upon being hired?
According to the Epilepsy Foundation, epilepsy affects about 1 percent of the population in the U.S. Over two million Americans suffer from the seizure disorder and one in twenty six will develop the disease at some point in their life. People in every corner of the workforce have epilepsy and perform their jobs with no ill effects from the disease. There are police officers, firefighters, construction workers, welders, nurses, butchers, and doctors with epilepsy. Some employees with epilepsy request reasonable accommodations from their employers. And while there are no blanket accommodations applicable to those suffering from the disease, flexible hours or short breaks to take medications are common. With a disease so prevalent, treatable, and easily accommodated it is amazing that a Florida hospital, of all places, would fire a physician who requested such accommodation.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) prevents covered employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with a disability. A qualified individual with a disability is someone that can perform the essential job functions with or without reasonable accommodation. An employer must make a reasonable accommodation for a known disability unless that accommodation would impose an undue burden on the employer. But, while an applicant does not have to disclose his or her disability to be protected from discrimination, to receive a reasonable accommodation an applicant must inform the prospective employer of the need for an accommodation.
According to a disability discrimination lawsuit filed against Baptist Health South Florida, one of the largest health care organizations in South Florida discriminated against a physician by refusing to accommodate her epilepsy and subsequently firing her. Doctor’s Hospital’s Gamma Knife Center hired Dr. Campos-Sackley as a general practitioner. During the interview process she disclosed that she had epilepsy and requested an eight-hour workday to accommodate her disability. The hospital agreed to the accommodation.
The hospital did not accommodate her for long, changed her schedule, and demanded that she work longer hours. Dr. Campos-Sackley’s health deteriorated quickly because of the increased hours. She again requested that the modified work schedule be reinstated and within a few days after making the request the hospital fired her.
The hospital’s discriminatory conduct clearly violated the mandates of the ADA and they recently settled the disability discrimiation lawsuit for $215,000 in back pay and compensatory damages. In addition, the hospital must train management, human resource, and recruiting personnel on disability discrimination and reasonable accommodations.
Epilepsy is a manageable disease that affects millions of working Americans. A request for a reasonable accommodation should not be a one-way ticket to the unemployment line. If you believe your employer has discriminated against you because of your disability it’s time to contact an experienced employment discrimination attorney.
If you are disabled or your employer perceives you as being disabled; and you have been fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, denied wages, or even think that you might need a disability discrimination lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. The best option is not to wait. Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting disables employees’ rights under ADA and Ohio law.
The materials available at the top of this page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “how do I get a work accommodation for my disability?”, “am I disabled under the ADA?”, “what should I do if…” or “can my boss fired me for …”, it would be best for you to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to disability discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, attorney Brian Spitz or any individual attorney.