Ohio Disability Discrimination Attorney’s Top Answers: Is Usher’s Syndrome a disability under the ADA? Do employment laws allow my boss to fire me for requesting a reasonable accommodation for my genetic disorder? What is a disability under the ADA? How do I find the best wrongful termination lawyer in Ohio?
Imagine you have been a hardworking, dedicated employee for over 19 years. Then you begin experiencing vision and hearing loss. Alarmed, you go see your doctor. After enduring a battery of tests, you are diagnosed with a genetic disorder. More alarming, your employer starts treating you as if your disease interferes with your ability to do your job. Suddenly, that same employer that you have dedicated so much of your life to refuses to help. You request a transfer to another department as a reasonable accommodation for your disability, and the employer refuses. Then, out of nowhere, your boss wrongfully fires you. You ask, what protection me under employment law?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against qualified workers because of a disability or perceived disability. An employee is considered disabled under employment discrimination laws if he or she has a medical, physiological, or psychiatric condition that substantially limits a major life activity. A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities is considered a disability. For example, these would include breathing, walking, speaking, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, lifting, reading, standing, learning, caring for oneself, sitting, and working. Further, employers must make reasonable accommodations to the known physical limitations of employees with disabilities or even the perceived disabilities of employees.
Last September, pulmonary function technologist Deborah Ropiski filed a disability discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, the hospital where she had worked for 19 years. Deborah was a very good employee who received positive reviews from management and the patients she cared for. Unfortunately, Deborah suffered from Usher’s Syndrome, which causes differing levels of vision and hearing loss. The hospital perceived Deborah as being disabled, refused to accommodate her reasonable requests for accommodation, and eventually fired her because of her disability and for complaining about the hospital’s treatment of her. What was Deborah asking for that the hospital absolutely could not agree to? Simply, she asked for a reassignment to another position within the hospital. In addition, the hospital refused to rehire Deborah for a vacant position she was qualified for.
Eventually, faced with the prospect of explaining their conduct to a jury, the hospital decided to settled the case for $180,000 and an agreement to give Deborah a positive reference. Additionally, the hospital must provide training to all employees about reasonable accommodation policy under the ADA. What no court decision can cure however, is the betrayal Deborah felt.
Deborah’s case demonstrates once again that some employers do not have your best interests at heart. Even hospitals are not immune to the cold and calculating decision to terminate a dedicated employee rather than attempt to help them through a professional transition.
Living with a disability is difficult enough without worrying about the effect it may have on your job. 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. The Spitz Law Firm, and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting disabled employees’ rights under ADA and Ohio employment 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 The Spitz Law Firm, attorney, Brian Spitz or any individual attorney.