Best Ohio Disability Discrimination Attorney Answer: Can my boss consider my disability as a factor in her decision to terminate me? Can I sue my employer for disability discrimination when I made mistakes at work? Can I be fired for mistakes I make at work if they were caused by my disability?
Imagine you get in trouble at work for falling asleep on the job. Not once, but multiple times. And, in addition to sleeping at work, you have a litany of other performance problems that are well documented. Can your employer fire you for such conduct? As we have blogged before, even employees who make mistakes at work have rights and can sue for wrongful termination if the termination was motivated by unlawful discrimination or harassment. Under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and Ohio’s R.C. § 4112.02(A), all employees are legally protected from discrimination or retaliation by their boss, manager or employer based on the employee’s actual or perceived disability
A good example of this comes out of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, where a jury recently decided that unlawful disability discrimination was involved when the city of McPherson, Missouri, cited a former police officer’s falling asleep at work as part of the city’s justification for terminating the officer’s employment, when the officer had obstructive sleep apnea.
The cost to the city for this wrongful termination? About one million dollars ($921,657 — plus interest, court costs and attorney’s fees.) I expect that the attorneys’ fees pushed the payout over one million dollars. And, this does not take into account what the city had to pay for its own legal fees.
The plaintiff, Matthew Michaels, had been caught sleeping in his patrol car on numerous occasions, and was finally suspended for it 2010. Shortly after his suspension, Michaels went to see a doctor about his trouble staying awake, and he was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. As a result of his diagnosis, Michaels got medical treatment, and his condition improved. Michaels did not get disciplined for falling asleep on the job again.
In the years that followed, Michaels received further discipline for poor performance and arguing with his supervisors, and he was terminated. While it may have been enough to cite this more recent misconduct as justification for Michaels termination, the city nonetheless included the incidents in which Michaels fell asleep as part of its justification. The inclusion of these incidents was not only unnecessary, but it also convinced the jury that the city was discriminating against Michaels by including this old conduct which was caused by Michaels’ disability, and that Michaels had since gotten under control.
The take away from this case is that when you are able to perform the essential functions of your job with or without reasonable accommodation, an employer absolutely cannot take into account your disability, or incidents caused by your disability, when taking adverse employment actions against you.
No employee should have to worry about disability discrimination on your job. If you are disabled or your boss or manager 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. Call our Ohio employment law attorneys 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 disabled employees’ rights under ADA and Ohio employment law.
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