Best Ohio Disability Discrimination Attorney Answer: What should I do if my boss is discriminating against me because I’m disabled? Can my job retaliate or fire me if I complain about disability discrimination? What should I do if I am wrongfully fired based on my disability?
All employees are protected under Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Ohio R.C. § 4112.02(A) from being discriminated against or retaliated against by their employers on the basis of their actual or perceived disability. Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit addressed the question of whether an employee can have a “disability” under the ADA when the impairment in question is temporary and caused by an injury.
In Summers v. Altarum Institute, the Court held that a “temporary impairment caused by an injury” may be a covered disability under the 2008 Amendments to the ADA if the impairment is “sufficiently severe to substantially limit a major life activity.” The employee in question had fallen while getting off of a train, and according to testimony from his physician, would be injured for about seven months to a year depending on treatment. The employee requested that be allowed to work remotely until he was able to fully walk again, but instead, the employer suggested short term disability and then terminated his employment.
In its decision, the Court focused not only on the duration of the injury in determining whether it could be considered a “disability,” but also the severity of the injury as well. According to the Court, the more severe the impairment the shorter the duration needed for the impairment to substantially limit a major life activity. Thus, in the case at bar, because the employee’s injury rendered him virtually unable to walk (thus, a very severe impairment), the fact that the impairment would only last seven to twelve months did not dissuade the Court from finding that the impairment constituted a disability under the ADA.
The Summers decision, in effect, adds another way for an employee to seek protection under disability discrimination laws even when their impairment is not a permanent condition. Indeed, if the impairment is severe enough, the fact that it is temporary may not be enough for the employer to get the claim dismissed. Not only would similar holdings expand the definition of “disability” under the ADA and allow for expanded protection for employees under the law, but it also would affect claims for reasonable accommodations as well, forcing employers to have that conversation with an injured employee before sending them packing.
Other courts have used a lesser standard of temporary disability. As our disability discrimination lawyers previously blogged, a simple broken leg has been held to be a disability under the ADA for the purposes of being able to request accommodations and determining if there was a wrongful termination.
Having to live 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. 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.